Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram celebrates employees returning to the office after two years

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Companies at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram organise programmes, contests and team outings to welcome back employees, who in turn are setting social media abuzz with ‘#back2office’ photographs and videos

Companies at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram organise programmes, contests and team outings to welcome back employees, who in turn are setting social media abuzz with ‘#back2office’ photographs and videos

In Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, #back2office is trending this week. After over two years of working from home, employees are gradually getting back to work-from-office mode at the IT hub and celebrating with selfies, group photographs and video on social media handles.

Pre-pandemic, the IT hub had a workforce of over 63,000, with over 460 companies operational on the campus spread across 766.86 acres. “At least 30% of have returned to work as of now. If there is no surge in COVID-19 cases, we expect more employees to come in, especially once the schools reopen in June,” says an official with Technopark.

The most excited are freshers, hired after March 2020, who are meeting colleagues and seeing the office premises for the first time. Companies have initiated a phased return to work where new recruits are welcomed first. Meanwhile, at most companies, a hybrid work model continues, wherein employees can work from home as well as office.

Employees who hail from other districts continue to work from home while those in and around Thiruvananthapuram are reporting to work. There is a flexible arrangement, like attending office two days a week. “We are using smart scheduling of spaces as well as campus zoning to ensure social distancing and contact tracing,” says Richard Lobo, executive vice president, Head HR, Infosys, adding, “While our overall experience with remote work has been good, we believe that for optimal engagement and productivity, renewing and creating fresh social equity is essential; for which in person connect and activities help immensely.”

Ambily KR, Thehsina Ibrahim, Tinu Achamma Thomas and Krishna Gaadha of Simplogics Solutons
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Krishna Gaadha, who joined Simplogics Solutions early this month, posted a video of her grooving with her colleagues Ambily KR and Tinu Achamma Thomas to the track of ‘Criminal’ from Ra.One. The video, shot by another colleague Thehsina Ibrahim, has made them quite famous on the campus. “When we went to the food court, some people recognised us! I was looking forward to work in the IT park and we are having fun exploring the sprawling campus. There is a warm atmosphere at office with team outings and get-togethers,” says Krishna.

Amritha CS of PIT Solutions says that although she joined the company last year, she has been working from home all these months. “Prior to that we were confined to homes with online classes and examinations due to the lockdown. After I got the job, I had come to the office a couple of times to collect work-related equipment. I had no clue about how it was like to work from office as we employees ‘met’ over video calls only. It was exciting to meet every one in person finally,” says Amritha.

On April 18, she was among the freshers who were officially welcomed by the company at an in-house event. Over 120 people who joined the company after March 2020 and a few other employees attended the fun-filled party. “We started out with the freshers because it was important for them to experience corporate culture. Many of them appeared to be in the college mode when we conducted the training sessions online,” says Amina Zeenath, senior project manager with the company. The office was decorated; there were games and entertainment programmes at the event attended by senior staff as well. “We have seen a huge improvement in productivity after they started coming from office. There is better communication and understanding about their jobs,” she adds.

Firms have been organising special events for new and existing employees. Cultural programmes, contests and team outings are being held. Some companies like TILTLABS combined it with their in-house Vishu celebrations.

Employees of Infosys' Thiruvananthapuram campus at Return to Office event

Employees of Infosys’ Thiruvananthapuram campus at Return to Office event
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Infosys’ Thiruvananthapuram centre marked the beginning of its ‘Return to Office’ exercise by hosting a new joiners’ connect, inviting all new employees who joined the company since April 2020. “There were many activities organised to make them feel at home, such as a red carpet experience, interaction with leaders, their extended teams and HR personnel, workspace experience and programmes such as magic show, music and dance events. They were also introduced to various clubs and committees in the company and were also taken on a campus tour,” says Richard.

Hearty welcome

The Technopark management has been undertaking renovation and upgradation work to welcome back its workforce. This includes construction of walkways and parking spaces, infrastructure development, repair work of roads inside the campus and installing solar street lights

Sreeraj KR of iCore Pioneer Business Solutions mentions that he was taken back to the Freshers’ Day in college when a similar event was organised for the new employees. “Since I can’t sing or dance, I just did some push-ups!” says Sreeraj, who hails from Palakkad. “Everything is new for me. I am yet to explore the full campus. Recently I attended a film festival [Qissa short film festival] featuring short films directed by the employees,” says Sreeraj.

Navya Martin and Harsha Kanicheri, both new recruits to a multinational company, were appointed in October last year and after three months’ online training they were asked to join last month. “I was nervous about coming all the way from Kannur to work in Thiruvananthapuram. But the management has been so encouraging that I feel at home now,” says Harsha. Navya, a native of Angamaly, adds, “There are six new employees in my team. After the initial nervousness, I am having a good time in my first job.”

Although his company has not made it mandatory to come to office, Arun SS of Polus Software says working from office has a lot of advantages. “Work gets over fast,” he says, adding “Also, I look forward to our tea breaks, lunch outings and catching up with my colleagues.”



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