As Bengaluru battles COVID-19, tech platforms come handy for IT workforce

Topics Coronavirus | Bengaluru

People wearing masks as preventive measure against the novel coronavirus. PTI
With the coronavirus reaching tech parks, campuses of multinational companies and even schools and colleges in Bengaluru, the IT city is gearing up to shoot the trouble with the help of technology. The city has so far reported four positive coronavirus cases.

As more employees opt for work from home in this time of crisis, start-ups are launching a suite of products to support collaboration and communication among workers. Ozonetel, a city-based start-up, for example, has rolled out a cloud-based solution for call centre companies to switch to work-from-home, in order to contain the spread of the virus. Using the solution, a company can route calls to mobile phones or even landlines, instead of them taking calls via desktop.

Human resource management software start-up Kredily has started providing its attendance management app for free to companies. Unlike a contact-based biometric system, the web-based authentication system rules out the possibility of spreading the virus through human contact, said the company.

“This restricts attendance to a specific location and comes in handy for companies where work-from-home is not being practised,” said Devendra Khandegar, founder & CEO of the start-up.

Chennai-based company Zoho which has clients such as Ola, MedLife and OnePlus in Bengaluru, has decided to offer its newly-launched remote work toolkit ‘Remotely’ for free to everyone. Remotely includes 10 applications that create a comprehensive communication system including virtual meetings, showtime for conferences, and online file management. “Our CEO (Sridhar Vembu) has been working from a remote farm in Tenkasi, a village in Tamil Nadu, and encouraging employees to go back to their home towns if they have internet connectivity,” said the company.

As primary schools have been closed to safeguard the health of students, edtech start-up BYJU’S is providing free access to its complete app to school students across classes 1-12. They can download and access BYJU’S learning programs for free until the end of April. 

While several IT companies such as Dell and Intel have put in place a work-from-home policy for a few days, many parents are struggling to maintain work-home balance as all pre-primary and primary schools have been shut indefinitely in the city.

"Even though we are allowed to work from home for 3-4 days as per the company policy, if the coronavirus issue continues for a longer period, a working mother like me will have to find out an alternative unless my company allows parent like me to work from home for a longer period till the crisis subsides," said an IT professional who works with a large Indian conglomerate, in the city.

Some companies such as e-commerce major Flipkart are encouraging work for home for such parents. “In light of primary schools in Bengaluru declaring holidays on the directive of the government, we are encouraging parents with young children to work remotely to balance their commitments. We are promoting the use of video conferences for meetings, including job interviews, and are temporarily avoiding events and training programs that require large gatherings as a precautionary measure,” said a Flipkart spokesperson.

Paytm too is promoting work from home. "We are sure that in the current situation, working from within the safe confines of their homes, the efficiency and productivity of our colleagues would increase. Having said that our offices are being thoroughly sanitised and we have also distributed masks as well as InfraRed (IR) thermometers as a necessary precaution," said a company spokesperson.

Karnataka government has advised all hospitals to set up flu corners for screening of suspected cases. Hospitals have also been directed to record the travel history of the person during such screening. The state has also cancelled all international conferences until further notice.

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