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Demand pours in for facility management, housekeeping staff as offices reopen

Betterplace, one of the largest human capital management platforms for blue-collar workforce, has mandates for 3 lakh such personnel for July and August from various sectors across the country. There's also huge demand for home delivery personnel ...

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Mumbai: As India enters unlock 2.0 and more companies open offices, demand is pouring in for facility management and housekeeping staff, including office boys, security personnel, cleaning personnel, and food and canteen staff.

Betterplace, one of the largest human capital management platforms for blue-collar workforce, has mandates for 3 lakh such personnel for July and August from various sectors across the country, according to data shared with ET. The company, which hires, onboards and manages such workers for leading companies, did 1.3 lakh onboarding every month for its customers before Covid-19; that number plummeted to about 14,000 in April.

The signs of revival were visible in June as the company onboarded 50,000 people with demand coming in due to easing of lockdown restrictions and more offices resuming work.

“This is an industry where people have to come back to work. As more offices are opening up, everyone is moving in the safest possible way to return to normalcy,” cofounder and chief executive Pravin Agarwala said. “There is a very high frequency of cleaning and sanitisation in offices that are opening up, that has also led to the rise in demand,” added Agarwala.

Facility and food management company Sodexo will have 41,000 of its 48,000-strong workforce back at work by end July and August, based on enquiries from its clients. In April, the company had only 18,000 employees at work as most offices were shut due to the lockdown. In June, 33,000 personnel were already on ground offering facilities management services to the client companies.

“In the next two months, as offices gradually reopen and healthcare institutions witness increased manpower pressure to service Covid-care units, we see the total manpower demand going up to 41,000,” said Pradeep Chavda, the human resources director at Sodexo-India.

“The manpower requirement is backed by increased demand for disinfection and cleaning services in the corporate environment, particularly from pharma, manufacturing, banking and other corporates,” he said. The company has also witnessed a 20% surge in fresh hires this month, to about 4,100.

Apart from housekeeping and facility management, there is also huge demand for home delivery personnel for ecommerce and non-ecommerce (retail, food, etc.), contract workers in manufacturing and other sectors, customer care executives in telecom, account and client support executive in banking and financial services and general duty assistants and ward boys in healthcare, according to Betterplace data.

Others such as Teamlease Services have also seen a spike in demand already seeping in for the upcoming two months.

“The need for delivery staff is estimated to go up 10-12% more than the earlier growth projection of 25%,” assistant vice president Amit Vadera said.

There is a 25% shortage of delivery staff and drivers in the ecommerce sector, data from Teamlease show. An increase in demand is also expected from non-ecommerce sectors that are looking at creating their own delivery muscle such as restaurants/hotels, apparels, cosmetics, etc., he said.
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