Corporates walk the extra mile on 50% staff order
Mumbai: Corporates on Tuesday issued work-from-home (WFH) directions to staff prompted by BMC’s order that offices barring essential service-providers must not work at more than 50% capacity. Some firms even exceeded the BMC-mandated proportion.
“Starting today (Tuesday), all our office-based staff who use local transport for commute, have been asked to work from home. This would be a fairly significant chunk (around 70%) of our strength,” said S Venkatesh, president (group HR), RPG Enterprises. “The company is providing VPN connections and all infrastructure assistance to those working from home. We will also reimburse bandwidth costs.”
At the Bombay Stock Exchange, over 50% of employees have moved to the WFH mode, while more than half of National Stock Exchange employees will begin doing so from Wednesday. This does not include critical staff in surveillance, trading operations, clearing departments and IT support. Sources indicated to TOI that RBI is considering moving a large section of employees to WFH, though banking, along with other essential services like railways and telephony, is exempt from the rule. Corporates TOI spoke to said the BMC directive does not include factories. While there aren't many factories or manufacturing units in Mumbai, companies said they are taking necessary precautions at factory premises to guard against Covid-19 infections. In a meeting with corporates on Tuesday, health minister Rajesh Tope asked them to comply with the 50% rule for non-technical staff.
Global advertising firm Wunderman Thompson has moved to “managed remote working” until further notice, with only 10-15% staff coming to office. “Ninety-five percent of our people have availed of WFH. For those who find it a challenge, we are arranging cabs for select staff, and developing a roster to reduce the density of people who are at office at any given point. We are also maintaining good distance between tables to follow a strict hygiene protocol,” said a company spokesperson.
Aditya Birla Group has mandated 50% of its staff in Mumbai to work from home, as have other corporates. Some issued WFH directions even before the BMC’s order, as reported by TOI on Tuesday.
An employee from a firm at the IT park Mindspace in Malad said management is procuring over 500 laptops on rent to facilitate WFH for at least 10 days. “We are allowed (as per company policy) to work from home for a month a year; these 10 days are now being added to that,” said the employee.
The Wunderman Thompson
spokesperson said no biometric attendance is being taken as a precautionary measure. Hardware for creative and studio teams are being relocated to homes.
The Mahindra Group, which has offices in Worli and Kandivli, has taken measures that include a group-level “rapid action force” to monitor the situation and suggest swift action in an emergency. “We also have a visitor management protocol in place where only pre-registered visitors are allowed into offices,” said Ruzbeh Irani, president (group communications & ethics), Mahindra Group. He said preregistration requires host employees to provide details of visitors, including international travel history. Also, such visitors and all employees are being screened with thermalsensing devices or infrared thermometers at entry points.
Mondelez India, whose offices across Mumbai are operating with minimum staff, is proactively encouraging employees to work from home or remotely where possible.
At Marico, all employees who use public transport are going to work from home. Management staff who have their own transport are coming on alternate days. “Business continuity teams will ensure critical organization functions,” said MD & CEO Saugata Gupta.
(Inputs by Yogita Rao, Partha Sinha, Reeba Zachariah & Bhavika Jain)