Published on March 13th, 2020 📆 | 5164 Views ⚑0
Cautious India Inc asks staff to work from home, Technology News, ETtech
Some of India’s largest corporations, a swathe of startups and technology multinationals are asking employees to work from home even as the country reported nearly a dozen new cases of Covid-19 infections on Thursday.
Among those offering remote work models include ecommerce majors Flipkart, Snapdeal, transport aggregators Uber and Ola, food delivery company Swiggy, payments provider Paytm as well as IT services companies Wipro and Tech Mahindra.
At stock broking startup Zerodha, the entire team of 1,200 has been mandated to work from home, Nithin Kamath, the company founder & CEO, tweeted.
For smooth business continuity, the safety of our employees, and to reduce the chance of any virus spreading due to… https://t.co/52KZBOer0h
— Nithin Kamath (@Nithin0dha) 1584015938000
Other Bengaluru-based startups such as fintech player Instamojo, edtech platform Unacademy, urban mobility firm Bounce, social commerce company Meesho, among others have asked employees to mandatorily work from home.“We have enabled work-from-home in the affected regions to minimise the risk of others getting infected,” said a representative for Wipro.
India’s IT industry, which employs over 3 million, typically has a large number of employees travelling overseas on projects and for client meetings. In keeping with health ministry guidelines, all people returning from countries affected by the Covid-19 have to be in quarantine for 14 days and follow guidelines.
“We have postponed all internal events that required large gatherings and everyone has been advised to adequately leverage technologies such as tele-presence and video conferencing,” said Harshvendra Soin, chief people officer, Tech Mahindra.
Internet commerce companies ranging from Flipkart and Snapdeal to Paytm and Uber are aggressively promoting remote working options among employees.
“Young parents can work from home,” said Rajneesh Kumar, senior vice president, Flipkart Group, adding that workers are being encouraged to use video-conferencing tools to interact with colleagues and customers.
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Edtech major Byju’s has liberalised work-from-home policies, while Snapdeal said it is geared up for all its employees to work remotely.
Others such as Paytm, which has recorded an infection at its workplace in the Delhi-NCR region, and Uber are also pushing employees to work from home.
“We are sure that in the current situation, working from within the safe confines of their homes, the efficiency and productivity of our colleagues would increase,” said a representative for Paytm.
While Uber has not seen any Covid-19 positive cases in India, the company is allowing employees who are able to work remotely, said a company executive.
“By asking some employees to not come to office, our goal is to reduce density and risk for everyone else,” said Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president for rides and platform, Uber.
A spokesperson for Ola said, “Employees have been advised to work from home in case they seem to have any flu-like symptoms as a precautionary measure. As part of our preparedness module, a task force has been created that is actively working with employees. All non-essential inter-city and international travel have been put on hold.”
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Remote working policies have been made mandatory at global technology majors such as Twitter, Nokia and robotic process automation firm UiPath.
“All employees, including hourly workers, will receive reimbursement toward their home office set-up expenses, and we are working with our vendors to ensure our contractors’ work-from-home needs are met as well,” said a spokesperson for Twitter.
On Thursday, Coal India allowed its over 300,000 employees to skip biometric attendance and move to a manual attendance register system.
In several offices, where remote working is not yet mandated, employees reporting unwell have been encouraged to stay home and seek medical help.
Telecom major Reliance Jio Infocomm has sent out an internal health advisory asking employees to avoid public meetings, public transport, restrict travel and visitors to office.
Read: ‘Black Swan’ effect? India Inc hopes impact is minimal
Indian corporates, technology firms and startups are also educating employees to adopt better hygiene practices, avoid public spaces and seek medical help if they have cough or fever.
Metro Cash & Carry India has stepped up medical checkups for people who have travelled to cities reporting Covid-19 cases.
“Employees who are exhibiting any symptoms will be recommended to self-quarantine and stay at home, wherein we will provide required IT support to facilitate work,” said Arvind Mediratta, MD, Metro Cash & Carry India.