Work-from-home, the concept that has caught on after the pandemic, is no longer cool for the techies in Kerala. They are making a beeline for the cool confines of their offices to escape from the sultry weather caused by one of the hottest summers in the State in recent times.

Temperatures have soared to over 40 degrees in most of the districts with scant summer showers to offer any comfort. Air conditioner sales have rocketed as unbearable heat scorches the State.

Since last year after the Covid 19 wave subsided, IT companies began insisting the employees should come to the office for work. Since many were reluctant to attend office on all days, some IT firms relaxed the schedule to make it at least three days a week. Most of the techies have become comfortable with the hybrid work mode, which gives them more time to attend to personal matters.

“Our company has been following three-day at the office schedule for over a year. But now we see the employees, especially those who are in PG accommodation, coming for work for five days,’’ said a senior executive in UST in Technopark.

Soaring power bill

The heat and humidity have made it difficult to work from home for long hours without switching on ACs. But fearing a hefty power bill many techies feel it is better to work from offices. Those who are staying as PGs may not even be fortunate to have access to an AC, which makes them more eager to get to office.

Rajeev Krishnan, state convenor, Prathidhwani (Welfare Organisation of IT employees), said many IT firms are still continuing the practice of WFH or in hybrid mode (3 days in office and 2 days at home). But a good percentage of employees are coming to the office all five days because of the very hot situation in Kerala. All IT companies have AC’s offering cool work places, but they cannot get such facilities at home. The humid temperature leads to sweating even before noon, which is hitting the productivity of the workers, he said and added that the power fluctuations at home due to high load is also hitting their work at home, forcing them to return to office.

He pointed out that there are around two lakh IT workers in Kerala operating in the three IT parks and outside. Of this, 20-30 per cent are still opting for the WFH option, 40 per cent are working from office and 40 per cent in the hybrid model.

Senior IT fellows in multiple organisations on condition of anonymity said there is a growing push for more in-office work in the recent period. The onset of summer has seen an uptick in office attendance among those who previously adopted a limited in-office schedule under the hybrid model. There is also apprehension that the companies might discontinue the option of WFH in future, thereby requiring daily office attendance. The summer break also poses a challenge for working parents with children at home.