Companies go the extra mile to ensure safety of staff working from office

Just 10-30% of corporate employees are currently working from offices, and it is likely to remain so for the rest of this year as the pandemic situation continues to be grave. Now companies are taking steps to ensure the safety of those employees ...

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Apps are being used to monitor the number of employees and seat allocation in companies like EY, Flipkart and Tech Mahindra.
New Delhi: Caution at the workplace is the buzzword with India entering the Unlock 4 phase this month.

Just 10-30% of corporate employees are currently working from offices, and it is likely to remain so for the rest of this year as the pandemic situation continues to be grave. Now companies are taking steps to ensure the safety of those employees who need to work from the office.

ET spoke to Myntra, Flipkart, Samsung, EY India, Whirlpool, Titan Industries and Tech Mahindra, which have a small percentage of employees working from office, as well as Perfetti Van Melle, which is preparing to reopen its offices.


Some companies are conducting antibody testing for employees coming to office. While labelled chairs and workstations, and limited cafeteria services have become a norm across offices, a few have also introduced applications to book workstations and track the number of employees in the office at any given time.

“Since June, all employees coming to office have been undergoing mandatory antibody tests,” said Sameer Wadhawan, the head of human resources at Samsung India.

Tech Mahindra too has started screening its frontline staff with antibody testing. In the coming weeks, this will be extended to all employees who need to work from the office.
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Tech Mahindra is also reworking its facial recognition system to a voice-enabled system for attendance, as employees need to wear masks all the time.

Flipkart is encouraging employees to book their workstations through a space management tool. This enables employees to book their seats when they need to work from the campus.

“This ensures a limited number of people on the floor and helps us in contact tracing if the need arises,” said a Flipkart spokesperson. Flipkart is also taking care of small things, like sanitising used whiteboard markers in meeting rooms and decluttering the office space.

At Myntra, less than 10% of the total workforce is currently working from office. Myntra has created ‘Hot Seat’ zones for high priority work. “However, this provision can be availed of only with prior approvals after a thorough assessment of the request,” said Sneha Arora, VP, human capital.
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All employees testing positive for Covid-19 are given a leave of 28 days at Myntra. The company recently announced the extension of remote working arrangement till December 31 for teams with no dependency on office infrastructure.

EY India has done away with the use of common areas, such as the cafeteria and recreational areas, at offices. It installed thermal cameras at the office entrance for temperature readings and shoe sole sanitisers at entry points.
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EY has developed a proprietary mobile application called ‘Access to office’. “This application seeks relevant health information from the employee and helps us to ensure that the number of people present in the office at any time is conducive to maintaining social distancing,” partner and talent leader-India Sandeep Kohli said.

Perfetti Van Melle is preparing to open the office to not more than 15% of employees on rotation. The company is currently establishing an isolation room and deactivating biometric systems, HR head Ritu Kochhar said.

No food is served in the cafeteria at Whirlpool. At Titan Industries, the canteen layout has been changed. “Instead of six people sitting on a table, we have only two sitting, that too diagonally and lengthwise, to ensure distance,” chief HR officer Raj Narayan said.

Employees at Flipkart, Titan, EY, Myntra, Whirlpool, Tech Mahindra and Samsung have to go through multiple temperature checks starting from when a vehicle enters the building to before entering the building. At the entry point, Aarogya Setu and in-house company health security apps are also checked.

Companies opening up with care:
Screening: Antibody testing for employees in companies like Samsung and Tech Mahindra
Use of apps: Apps are being used to monitor the number of employees and seat allocation in companies like EY, Flipkart and Tech Mahindra
No crowding: Many companies doing away with the use of common areas, such as the cafeteria and recreational areas
WFH still popular: Most companies have 70-90% employees working from home
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