Info-tech

Future of work changing faster than we predicted: Capgemini

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on April 16, 2020 Published on April 16, 2020

Venkat Neelakantan, Vice-President and Regional Head of CRES Asia-Pacific, Capgemini

IT firm sets up Benevolent Fund; sets aside ₹200 crore for staff health, safety

As the lockdown has become a global phenomenon, with countries scrambling to fight Covid-19, information technology and IT-enabled services companies are at the forefront in helping different sectors shift work to homes.

As they do it, IT firms themselves undergo the whole transformation, enabling almost 90-95 per cent of their employees to work from home.

Capgemini, a top IT player globally, has set up a ‘war room’, established city-wise task forces, pooled in IT infrastructure to equip its staff with proper gear and the required bandwidth to ensure things run smoothly. Now, about 95 per cent of its (billable) staff in India is working from home.

“At Capgemini, our large global footprint and robust early warning system enabled us to move rapidly and take proactive measures to face the challenging situation. A crisis team was formed even before the lockdown, comprising different business and function heads with direct oversight from the CEO,” Venkat Neelakantan, Vice-President and Regional Head of CRES Asia-Pacific, Capgemini, told BusinessLine.

On Tuesday, it set up a ‘Benevolent Fund’ for supporting Capgemini India employees and their families. “As part of this fund, a corpus of €25 million (₹200 crore) will be parked separately and the income generated from this corpus will be used towards health and safety areas for our Capgemini India colleagues and their families, should the need arise,” he said.

“This is a new initiative which is over and above the existing group medical insurance and voluntary parental insurance benefits already available to all employees as part of our policy,” he added.

New model evolving

The IT firm sees a new model of work emerging out of the pandemic days. This global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has changed the way businesses think and operate. “Considering that remote working can be a viable option for many, we are going to see the future of work change more quickly than we might have predicted before,” he said.

“At the heart of our effort is delivering to our clients who need us the most in these times. Immediate measures were taken like scaling up the IT infrastructure, increase in Internet bandwidth and strengthening our VPN (virtual private network) connectivity,” he said in e-mail responses on how the firm transformed itself for the work from home regime.

The firm set up a city-wise task force to deliver laptops and desktops to a significant number of employees at their homes, along with UPS (uninterrupted power supply) and data cards.

Security concerns

The WFH deployment was done in consultation with clients and appropriate cybersecurity and data privacy guidelines. During a lockdown, the shift to a complete work from home model raises significant implications.

“We installed Capgemini custom cybersecurity tools and software in order to improve our remote surveillance capabilities to proactively detect cyber threats,” said Neelakantan.

For desktops, an additional process of hardening which included encryption and installation of monitoring software was added before issuing the desktops. The remote connectivity solution ensures that no data gets transferred from client network to Capgemini network.

“Even a few security-sensitive customers, especially in banking, healthcare and manufacturing sector, were convinced with our security model and consented for work from home for teams on their projects,” he said.

As the country was getting ready for the 21-day lockdown, Capgemini asked all its visitors, including vendors, support staff and clients, to give a declaration of good health. All were subjected to temperature screening.

Employee care

“Those employees returning from overseas from official or personal travel were mandated to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine, and their office access was deactivated,” he said.

Capgemini provided digital tele-consultation to its employees in India and those stranded in other countries through its partner hospitals.

“Nearly 20,000 employees have engaged in the virtual employee engagement initiatives as of today and over 2,550 employees have participated in the guided meditation session,” said Neelakantan.

Besides this, Capgemini is extending enrollment dates for the parents’ voluntary medical insurance scheme.

The firm mobilised about ₹7.5 crore, including ₹60 lakh coming in through employee contributions, for immediate Covid-19 relief.

Published on April 16, 2020

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