Allowing 75% of TCS staff to WFH by 2025 a guesstimate: N Chandrasekaran

Chairman N Chandrasekaran addresses the virtual AGM from Mumbai
“Chandra sir, can you hear me?” 

due to Covid?” 

These were two most common questions by shareholders who joined Tata Consultancy Services' 25th annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday.

The AGM was held in a completely virtual environment, a first by any Indian firm. Chairman N Chandrasekaran, popularly called Chandra, Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Gopinath, and Company Secretary Rajendra Moholkar addressed the quorum from Mumbai, while other directors, including Chief Operating Officer N Ganapathy Subramaniam and Don Callahan, took part in the meeting remotely from their offices in Bengaluru and Boston, respectively. 

In its response to the queries, TCS said the company does not believe that only 25 per cent employees will be working from office by 2025 and the firm was moving towards the theme as a proactive measure. It also should not be seen as an administrative move to cut costs, the firm clarified. 

The company said it was rewiring its security processes, and deploying artificial intelligence and bots to ensure there is no data leakage in its pursuit for providing seamless work from home experience in the long run.  

“In fact, TCS has long-term leases. So, currently it is more (technology and security-related) investments and more expenses," Chandra, also chairman of Tata Sons, said. There was also a revenue loss because of the shift and the same has been absorbed in the March quarter, he said.

“When we say 25 per cent (of employees would be working from office) by 2025, it is not a target. We anticipate and predict that the world will move in this direction, and we want to be prepared for it. It is not (may not be) the same 25 per cent of employees as well. It’s just a guesstimate, and could be 40-70 per cent,” he said. 

The clarification comes as TCS, during a conference call in April, signalled that 75 per cent of its 448,000 employees globally may be asked to work from home, permanently. 

The Tata Group chairman said the company did not face any specific contractual issues from clients globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic and termed working with customers in the past three months a ‘learning experience’.

“The company had a very productive year, engaging with customers in their innovation, growth and transformation initiatives, and winning some of our largest deals till date. However, our response to the events during the last 10 days of FY20 is what I consider to be our most defining accomplishment of the financial year,” Chandra said. 

Some shareholders of the information technology firm did face testing troubles in logging into the meeting, however, that did not deter them from raising questions related to “unusual jumps in line items of the balance sheet”. 

There were also complains of non-receipt of the physical copies of the annual report. Some shareholders even read poems like they usually do in physical AGMs.

According to company sources, over 1,280 shareholders joined from across the globe on ‘first come, first served’ basis. 

The meeting was hosted on National Securities Depository Limited platform.

He also said the world's dependency on China as the single sourcing market will reduce in the post-coronavirus future, which presents an opportunity for India. “It is not only a question of a shift, but that of dependency on a single market which will reduce. India will definitely have an opportunity to participate," Chandrasekaran said, replying to a shareholder query.

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