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The working world is experiencing a revolution as virtual workplaces replace physical offices. But what factors are crucial to ensuring success?

Get up, get dressed, go out to work. For time immemorial this routine was a way of life. Where remote working did exist, it was considered suboptimal, with telecommuting or home offices lacking the secure infrastructure and mechanisms vital for shared working and collaboration.

As a result, large enterprises had limited focus on remote working, and invested few resources in the operating models, systematic work, talent management and HR policies needed to enable it. There simply wasn’t the need.

Today, all that has changed. We’re on the verge of a new work order that will render obsolete age-old concepts such as location dependency; defined and fixed working hours; high-touch governance; and presenteeism as a prerequisite to optimal productivity.

So how does this new order work in practice? And what tools are essential to making it a success?

The distributed model

Adaptability and resilience are critical to enabling businesses to pivot quickly in times of uncertainty.

The new work order is being propelled by the establishment of highly distributed, location-independent work models. One key feature is the emergence of Talent Clouds – a concept that pairs a business’s talent needs with people based anywhere in the world. This paves the way for organizations to derive exponential value through maximizing opportunities and embracing risk.

TCS’ Secure Borderless Workspaces™ (SBWS™) is a transformative operating model framework that allows organizations to take full advantage of their talent ecosystem to maximize business opportunities. It encompasses a wide range of human functions, including infrastructure, talent management and employee engagement; processes, tools, and governance mechanisms; and collaboration and engagement practices.

SBWS™ in action

TCS’ swift transition to remote working in the face of COVID-19 induced lockdowns was facilitated by its SBWS™ operating model. This transformative model enables remote access for employees, sets up a suitable cybersecurity framework and all project management practices and systems needed to ensure that work allocation, monitoring and reporting continues as normal.

In this way, the SBWS™ model ensured that neither the quality nor the timeliness of client deliveries was ever compromised.

TCS has so far enabled remote working for 95% of its workforce and established cloud-based governance of over 23,000 projects, enabling high volumes of digital collaboration – 35,000 online meetings, 406,000 calls, and over 3 million messages.

Over the past few months, TCS has also been helping its clients adapt to this new working model using SBWS™.

Faced with lockdown, Dutch insurer VIVAT had to meet the twin challenges of ensuring service delivery while not compromising their employees’ safety. TCS worked with the firm to map out its business continuity options. This involved creating a detailed risk assessment of all continuity options jointly with IT, Security and Business teams. SBWS™ was then implemented, giving VIVAT the access, security, flexibility and reliability of remote IT equipment needed.

Knowing that its clients had new talent requirements to fill in the face of the crisis, workforce solutions company, ManpowerGroup, was keen to get back to work as soon as possible. The SBWS™ model was put in place seamlessly for 98% of the global ManpowerGroup workforce. This included locations across India, the US and Europe, despite the varied requirements in terms of device access, availability and permitted operations that could be performed remotely.

A complete reset

Such highly distributed, location-independent work models are key to making the new work order a reality.

The clear advantages of SBWS™ so far have led TCS to announce the 25 by 25 vision – by 2025, only 25% of TCS workforce will work out of TCS facilities at any time, with associates spending only 25% of their time in the office. And within project teams, only 25% of employees can be co-located.

One clear benefit of this move will be the 25% increase in velocity throughput that is expected to result from it. But there are clear longer-term benefits as well, such as the ability of organizations to provide more equitable job opportunities – which will not only make a positive impact on the company, but also on the wider society.

SBWS™ is not a short-term response to a crisis, but a new beginning. These new ways of working and managing businesses present a great opportunity to more than just ‘recover’ from the consequences of the crisis, but to accelerate transformation. This does not just mean creating greater value with an abundance of talent and other critical resources but, beyond the corporate world, contributing to the wellbeing of employees and the creation of a more sustainable planet.

If you wish to explore a new way of working with SBWS, write to