Indian companies looking at work-from-home options to protect employees from COVID-19 virus
Indian tech companies have scrambled to find solutions to safeguard their employees from the deadly COVID-19 virus and are offering the option of flexible working hours/work from home.
As on March 4, at least 28,529 persons were brought under community surveillance and are being monitored in India, with 29 confirmed cases, according to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
Industry veterans said that while it may be unplanned, now is a great time for companies to look at how they enable and empower their distributed workforce to collaborate.
Doing so will pay dividends into the future, long after the current threat has subsided, according to Peter Quinlan, Vice President of Unified Communications and Collaboration Product Management, Tata Communications
"As a global company with a highly distributed workforce, we've had in place flexible working policies -- like work from home, flexible working hours, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and virtual collaboration environments -- as well as a variety of unified collaboration technologies widely adopted within the company," Quinlan said in a statement.
India's leading digital payment platform Paytm on Wednesday shut its offices in Gurugram and Noida for at least two days after one of its employees who had recently travelled to Italy tested positive for COVID-19.
Worldwide, companies like Amazon and Facebook are battling Coronavirus cases at their offices.
Harshvendra Soin, Chief People Officer at Tech Mahindra, said that the company has issued a detailed employee advisory and are undertaking various preventive measures.
"We have postponed all internal events which required large gatherings and everyone has been advised to adequately leverage technologies like tele presence and video conferencing," said Soin.
"In case of COVID-19 symptoms, employees are being asked to avail work from home as well. All our office locations and guest houses are also being stocked with adequate supplies of sanitizers, emergency medicines, food ration etc," he added.
Global software giant Wipro has suspended employee travel to coronavirus-stricken China, Hong Kong and Macau.
The company also said that any employee who has travelled to an affected place in China in the last few days has been advised to work from home for 14 days before resuming work in office.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) also claimed that it was working closely with all relevant global and regional and local health institutions to tackle COVID-19 outbreak.
While HCL Technologies said it has invoked an epidemic contingency plan in the impacted geographies and is providing full support to employees, wherever possible.
*Edited from an IANS report