Elysha Young
Elysha manages the Asia Pacific Mintel Trends team made up of expert analysts and trend spotters. She currently oversees content for Mintel Trends as well as client servicing for the region.

Tata Consulting Services (TCS), one of the largest IT firms globally, announced permanent work-from-home options for over 75% of its employees by 2025. The firm currently employs 440,000 people globally, of which 350,000 operate from India. This initiative called 25/25, TCS aims to retain only 25% on-premise employees while enabling the remaining workforce to work from home permanently.

The company has managed to honour the offers made, promote employees, and avoid lay-offs, thus far facilitating employee loyalty. TCS aims to make working from home the ‘new normal’ even after the pandemic blows over. Fewer employees in the office will likely result in higher profits as overhead costs on office space/rent, maintenance, electricity, and transport will decrease.

With TCS serving as the frontrunner in this initiative, it will cause major changes in the operating model of all major IT firms in India. It may also help reduce attrition and attract better talent, as women, students, and differently-abled persons looking for flexible working options will greatly benefit, leading to a more inclusive workplace.

Mintel Trend ‘Rebirth of Cities’ highlights how there are too many people and too little space. Cities are dynamic spaces that are changing and transforming to maximise their potential in line with the wants and needs of their citizens. FMCG company Marico, is said to be working on a plan to bring about a critical shift in the way the company has traditionally operated and ensure that at least 40% of its office-based staff would be in work-from-home mode. Advertising firm Wunderman Thompson is looking at a 50:50 solution so that not more than half of its staff on any given day are in office.

What we think

The work-from-home move will help decongest urban areas with less city-bound commuting, leading to a reduced carbon footprint. A decentralised workforce will be a game-changer with huge implications for real estate, transport, hotel/catering, and many other allied sectors.

Brands have an opportunity to tap into the current crisis to leapfrog into futuristic, flexible configurations, and update older operating models.

As consumers come to expect flexibility and agility in the post-COVID-19 scenario, models that are better suited for business continuity in unstable times will capture demand. This will, however, require favourable modifications in corporate structures as well as government policies. Companies offering employee flexibility, online security, and HR practices that favour working from home will need to be augmented by government concessions and relaxations that facilitate remote working.