Covid-19 crisis: IT services companies pad up to reopen offices for staff

Despite taking such safety measures, most IT services firms are planning to allow employees to resume work from offices in various phases.
With further relaxation in lockdown expected from next week, IT services companies are preparing to allow employees, though in a phased manner, to come to office for work.

Apart from issuing guidelines for employees with dos and don’ts, the companies are using technology-led solutions to ensure social distancing at workplaces.

Tech Mahindra, for example, is using voiced-enabled facial recognition system for employee attendance in place of card swiping system that involved physical touch points. The company will also encourage the employees to use “canteen app” wherein a user will be sent notification once the food is ready, thus eliminating unnecessarily crowding in canteens and cafeterias.

“While our facial recognition system for attendance is being voice-enabled, our associates will have to use the in-house ‘Book My Seat’ application that will ensure social distancing while allocating seats,” said Harshvendra Soin, chief people officer at Tech Mahindra.

The IT firm also said it had restricted meetings involving more than five people. Even the vehicles to move employees to offices will be only run at 30-40 per cent passenger capacity to ensure social distance.

Noida-based HCL Technologies has disabled the access cards that were earlier used by employees to login. Now, anyone visiting an HCLT campuse will have to take a mobile enabled self-assessment. Also, all employees have been asked to download the government's contact-tracing app Aarogya Setu. According to Apparao V V, chief human resources officer at HCL Technologies, employees will only be permitted to use office transport for some time, and each cab is being sanitised after a trip.

Tata Consultancy Services is conducting temperature screening at all entry points, apart from doing deep cleaning and disinfecting of office premises. “We are resuming operations in a phased manner in select offices with minimal capacity. We have rolled out guidelines on our campuses, which include awareness sessions for employees and vendors, self-declaration forms, alteration of workspace layout and virtual collaboration tools for meetings,” said a spokesperson of TCS.

Infosys, which has started reopening campuses with minimal workforce, has taken measures like temperature checks, sanitized office vehicles, alternative seating arrangements in official transport, among others, in order to ensure employee safety. “As lockdowns begin to ease across India, our CEO Salil Parekh, along with a few Infoscions, get back to our campuses that are equipped and prepared for the ‘new normal’,” Infosys had tweeted on May 7.

Wipro has put in place measures such as thermal screening using contact-less infrared thermometers, sanitizer dispensers in each floor, and have also advised employees to enable digital payment mode on their phones to pay at cafeterias.

Despite taking such safety measures, most IT services firms are planning to allow employees to resume work from offices in various phases. Infosys is planning to work with 5 per cent of employees in office for now, which it will take to around 30-40 per cent in next six months.

“We are not in a hurry and we will be happy with this 3-5 per cent (working from office) because the risk will be less for us in that way. And as long as the deliverables are not getting hit, there is there is no hurry right now, and we will do it in a very steady and stable manner," said Apparao of HCL Technologies.


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