Coronavirus: Bengaluru shuts down; firms ask employees to work from home

Topics Coronavirus | Google | Amazon

After Dell and Mindtree, Google is now the third tech firm in Bengaluru to have an employee diagnosed with coronavirus
The Silicon Valley of India has been put under a lock-down for a week to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. While most of the top tech companies are asking employees to work from home in Bengaluru, the state government has ordered all malls, cinema houses, populated areas and convention programmes in the city to be shut beginning Saturday.


After a Google techie in Bengaluru tested positive on Thursday, the US-headquartered company closed its office in the city for a day asking all employees to work offsite as a precautionary measure.


“We can confirm that an employee from our Bengaluru office has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They were in one of our Bengaluru offices for a few hours before developing any symptoms. The employee has been on quarantine since then, and we have asked colleagues who were in close contact with the employee to quarantine themselves and monitor their health,” said the company in a statement.


However, company staff in Gurugram said it was business as usual for them. However, social visitors are not allowed for any of the employees, and usual measures of sanitisation are being followed for keeping Googlers as safe as possible.


After Dell and Mindtree, this case makes Google the third tech firm in Bengaluru to have an employee diagnosed with coronavirus. RMZ Infinity, which houses the Google office, wore a deserted look as most of the 10,000 odd employees working out of the tech park chose to work from home. “All other offices in the premises have been apprised of the situation and the necessary safety measures such as fumigation and sanitisation of the premises have been taken to help them in the best way possible,” said RMZ Corp.


E-commerce giant Amazon early on Friday too issued an advisory to all its employees to work from home till March end in response to the coronavirus outbreak.


The company in an email has recommended its employees globally who are able to work from home do so. Worldwide, Amazon has reported three positive coronavirus cases, one in Seattle and two in Italy.


Earlier, the company had also announced that employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two-weeks of pay. “This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay,” said Amazon in a blogpost.


While most of the Uber India employees have been working from home for the past one week, the company came up with an advisory for staff to work remotely till April 6. 


Microsoft has optional work-from-home for most employees even before the coronavirus outbreak, and most personnel are utilising that option even now. Similarly for Facebook, there is a voluntary work from home option for most employees.


According to sources, Bytedance, the parent company of short video messaging app TikTok has also asked all its employees to work from home.


Flipkart too has piloted a work for home for three days for its 10,000 employees working out of its Bellandur office in Bengaluru. The Walmart-owned company has made it compulsory for its employees who operate out of its corporate headquarters in the city to work from home, starting Wednesday for three days.


Brokerage start-up Zerodha has also announced work from home for its entire team of 1,200 employees to reduce the chance of any virus spreading.


Several other companies such as Swiggy, Ola, BYJU’s, Udaan are also strongly recommending work from home in the city as companies step up measures to prevent the virus from spreading.


Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore too has postponed its annual convocation programme which was supposed to happen on March 20.

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