SaaS Industry Syncs To The New-Normal With Remote Work, Hybrid Approach

Freshworks and ChargeBee have asked employees to work from home till December 2020

Zoho has asked its employees to work from home till the pandemic subsides

KissFlow saw productivity going up by 20% during the work-from-home period

With India’s Covid-19 infection tally standing at 380,533 with 163,248 active cases and 12,573 fatalities, coupled with the reopening of the economy, only a handful of entrepreneurs have got back to the office. One of the main reasons for not accepting the “new normal” is the fear of contracting the deadly infection.  

While most have decided to stay remote and adapt their business, SaaS companies like Freshworks and ChargeBee have asked employees to work from home till the end of 2020. Another SaaS giant Zoho has asked employees to work from home till the pandemic subsides, without fixing a date of return to the office. 

Armed with performance-monitoring tools and data security drills, tech companies have been able to effectively WFH. Despite employees logging in more hours, the companies have reportedly found that the deliverables have not been impacted and thus, have enabled the companies to extend the WFH option.

Earlier in May, during a Webinar on “Strategies For Returning To Work”, Girish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO, Freshworks; Suresh Sambandam, CEO, KissFlow; Krish Subramaniam, cofounder and CEO, Chargebee discussed their plans for going back to work. 

At the time, KissFlow’s Sambandam said that he is seriously evaluating moving the company to a full-fledged remote-working format, considering productivity went up by 20% during the work-from-home period.

He said that the company is planning to move into a smaller functional office, and getting the workforce equipped to work largely from home, actually from “anywhere”. He also talked about employees working from their hometowns, as “Work From Anywhere” model could be an answer to lop-sided development that unfairly favoured urban geographies.

Subramaniam from ChargeBee also discussed a “hybrid approach” to remote working and take employees’ preferences into consideration, before it did anything else. On this approach, Subramaniam said, “Everyone works remotely, and working out of offices becomes optional, with multiple offices being provided (to the workforce).” The choice of whether they worked from home or office would be left entirely to employees, he added.

Mathrubootham also emphasised on smaller distributed offices. The CEOs also found numerous benefits of remote work, including changing the dynamics of talent acquisition, employee engagement and productivity can be better addressed in smaller units. 

Since then, KissFlow has set up Remote plus, a hybrid remote working model where employees are required to work from an office only for one week a month, as a permanent move. “This may become a permanent move depending on a productivity assessment in six  months. We will make a conscious effort to hire employees who will thrive in a remote work environment,” reportedly said Sambandam.

ChargeBee’s Subramanian reportedly said that the employees are not in any compulsion to come into work until the end of the year. “The productivity is good and there have been no complaints from team leaders. We have also suspended the lease for our office in Chennai and are evaluating options for smaller offices in other locations,” he added.

A NASSCOM report has revealed that Indian IT/BPM industry has a total workforce of 4.36 Mn, and nearly 95% of them moved to WFH mode as soon as the government announced a lockdown during the last week of March. 

Globally, giants like Twitter and Square have both said employees can work from home forever, while Google and Facebook have told employees they can be in WFH mode until the end of 2020.

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Written by Bhumika Khatri


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