Cor­po­rates walk the ex­tra mile on 50% staff or­der

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - VIRAL FEAR TIMES CITY - Nam­[email protected]­ FIRM RE­SPONSE

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)

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