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Shut offices, work from home, travel ban: India Inc takes coronavirus safety measures

While many companies have shut operations and asked employees to work from home, others have put restrictions on non-essential domestic and international travel

twitter-logo Manali        Last Updated: March 19, 2020  | 07:49 IST
Shut offices, work from home, travel ban: India Inc takes coronavirus safety measures
Indian IT companies are taking significant measures as their employees often travel abroad for work thus getting exposed to the deadly virus

As coronavirus cases rise in India, corporates across the country have started taking precautionary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Companies such as Cognizant, Paytm and Wipro have stepped up their employee safety efforts as the epidemic spreads.

While many have shut operations and asked employees to work from home, others have put restrictions on non-essential domestic and international travel especially to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

A lot of them are also disinfecting and sanitising office spaces, putting hand sanitisers at entry and exit points, discouraging staff from conducting physical meetings, restricting the entry of outsiders in office premises and distributing N95 masks amongst employees.

Also Read:Coronavirus in India LIVE updates: 16,000 Chinese passengers, crew stopped at Indian ports

Business stalwarts such as Anand Mahindra, Harsh Mariwala have also weighed in on the issue as well. Where Mahindra pointed out the silver lining in the coronavirus outbreak, saying the chaos will press a 'permanent reset button' leading to a greener footprint, Mariwala advised caution urging people to stop spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

Indian IT companies are taking significant measures as their employees often travel abroad for work thus getting exposed to the deadly virus.

Cognizant

IT services provider Cognizant India has temporarily closed its Hyderabad office and asked its employees to work from home. The company's office is situated in Building 20 of Raheja Mindspace which is a major IT park in Hyderabad.

The company in an email sent to its associates on Wednesday said that it is shutting its office as an employee of another company in the same building was tested positive for coronavirus (COVI-19). The IT Services provider further stated (in the email) that is closing the office for disinfection and sanitisation. The IT services provider also clarified in the email that "no Cognizant associate is known to have contracted the virus." The company added that it has asked all its employees "working out of Building 20 of Raheja Mindspace to work from home until further notice".

Also Read: Coronavirus update: Cognizant shuts Hyderabad office, asks employees to work from home

Paytm

The digital payment platform on Wednesday decided to close its offices in Gurugram and Noida for at least two days after one of its employees who had recently visited Italy tested positive for coronavirus. The company in an official statement stated that it has also advised the team members of the affected employees to get their health tests done without delay. Paytm has closed its offices to carry out disinfection and sanitisation of the premises.

"One of our colleagues based out of Gurgaon office who recently returned from Italy post a vacation has sadly been tested positive for Coronavirus," a company spokesperson said. "He is receiving appropriate treatment and we are extending complete support to his family."

"As a precautionary measure, we have suggested his team members get health tests done immediately. We have also advised all our colleagues to work from home for a couple of days while we get our offices sanitized. However, there will not be any impact on our daily operations and Paytm services will continue as usual," the spokesperson said.

Also Read: Coronavirus Updates: Paytm employee tests positive for Covid-19; cases in India spikes to 29

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

A spokesperson of the IT company said on Tuesday that it has advised its employees based in Itlay to work from home. "We are ensuring that our staff have all the information and support they require. In addition, we are also working closely with our clients to co-ordinate any measures in this situation," the spokesperson said as quoted by PTI.

HCL Technologies

The tech giant has evoked an epidemic contingency plan in the affected geographies and is fully supporting its employees in the impacted regions. "Remote Working/Work From Home' strategy has been activated to aid social distancing in the impacted regions. Travel advisory across the organisation has been issued with full precautionary measures," the company said.

The company has also set up a special global task force to track the situation actively and take appropriate steps in consultation with external agencies such as International SOS. "HCL is pro-actively invoking all required measures to ensure business continuity and will also be providing full support to clients and employees," the company told the news agency.

Nearbuy

The company which claims to be India's first hyper-local online platform has decided to shut its Gurugram office for at least 14 days as a preventive step. It has asked its employees to work from home during the period and also keep their health in check.

Wipro

The global software major announced on Wednesday that it will not allow any employee to travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau due to coronavirus risk. "Wipro has suspended travel to and transit through mainland China, including Hong Kong and Macau, until further notice. Employees have also been advised to avoid non-critical travel to Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Italy," Wipro said.

The company has also advised Chinese employees and others who had travelled to the said destinations to be vigilant and to stay at home for 14 days before joining back office. Even though the company has enabled a lot of techies to work from home, it does not have any employees in the coronavirus epicentre, Wuhan. The company has asked its employees to put themselves in isolation in case they or their family members exhibit symptoms.

The company has also issued an advisory containing information about hygiene and preventive measures and has also asked its employees worldwide to get themselves checked if they display any symptoms.

Also Read: Wipro suspends employee travel to China, Hong Kong, Macau over coronavirus

Twitter

The microblogging site has asked its global workforce to work from home, if possible. "We are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they're able. Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus for us and the world around us," Twitter said in a blog.

Meanwhile, Google had made its policies stricter after an employee in Zurich tested positive for coronavirus. It has restricted travel and cancelled a big Google Cloud event. Other tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft are issuing advisories and taking preventive steps for its employees to restrict the spread of the virus. Online retail giant Amazon also said on Tuesday that an employee in the United States has been tested positive for coronavirus. The company stated that all the employee's co-workers who were in contact with the patient have been informed. The patient worked at the company's South Lake Union office complex in Seattle.

Also Read: Coronavirus outbreak: Facebook closes Seattle office after worker down with COVID-19

Also Read:India Inc on coronavirus: Anand Mahindra sees silver lining, Harsh Mariwala warns against rumours

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