Arun Ice Cream

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Work from home new mantra for IBM employees
The last time Kumar, a sales executive working with IBM India, visited his company's registered office in Bangalore was some six months ago to get his broken attendance card replaced. Kumar, 35, is among nearly 50,000 IBM India employees who are working from anywhere, but the office. "I do not have to show my face to my boss anymore, well at least for a few weeks or months at a stretch," says Kumar, who requested that his first name not be revealed. "I used to miss catching up with other colleagues at office, but now there are hundreds of us on the road for the company," he adds.

For nearly 50,000 employees at IBM India and some 15,000 tech workers at HP's India operations, work-from-home is no more an HR incentive meant for women going for early maternity leave, or a privilege for few - it's now an integral part of their work life. While over 40% of IBM staff does not have any space in office, a quarter of HP India employees across the functions of sales, marketing and customer support do not have to mark their attendance or swipe employment cards. Rising real estate costs and travel time, apart from other complexities of maintaining office space for a growing base of staff, are making a real business case for multinational tech firms like IBM, HP, Cisco and Microsoft. What was once an option taken by those with personal problems or medical predicaments has now become a norm in some companies with the option of working from home finding more takers than ever before. Employees at IBM even receive Rs 15,000 more a month for this. This is because they save the company walloping infrastructure costs, one of the perils of rapid expansion. This way the company can also drive home the point that it truly promotes work-life balance. The company says it also increases the productivity of employees. "We know that if we can successfully address the challenges of work-life balance, IBM will certainly gain a competitive edge in...
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