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MUMBAI : India Inc. is monitoring the resurgence in covid-19 and may not ask workers to head back to offices just yet, continuing instead with hybrid work policies. Vedanta Group, Panasonic, Bharti Airtel, RPG Group and Piramal Group said they are monitoring the rise in cases and have asked employees to remain cautious.

“At Piramal Group, we are constantly monitoring the situation like we have done in the previous waves and will take necessary steps for the safety, health and security of our employees as the situation warrants in the coming time," said Vikram Bector, president and chief human resources officer (CHRO). The steps include booster vaccination campaigns for employees and families, safety and health advisories, providing flexibility and enabling work from home if the cases continue to rise, Bector added.

Concerns have risen after the spike in cases, especially in northern India. The uptick in cases came as schools opened, covid restrictions eased, and Indian companies had just started adopting a mix of hybrid to 100% back-to-office policy.

Now, many companies will have to return to the drawing board to prevent their workforce from getting affected.

“We had started a roster system where each employee has to come to the office two days a week. We continued to adhere to strict protocols, but now with the rise in cases, there is no plan to return to 100% back to work," said Praveen Purohit, deputy CHRO, Vedanta Group.

Work-from-home policies were hastily put in place at the outbreak of the pandemic, and several companies across sectors transitioned into this mode. Over the last two years, companies have intermittently asked employees to head back to offices.

Some like the RPG Group use digital monitoring at factories and will now push for booster shots for their workforce.

“We have a very high percentage of double-vaccinated employees and encourage those eligible to go for the booster dose... Continuous reminders in offices and smart digital monitoring in factories ensure that covid safety protocols are always on alert," said S.Venkatesh, group president, HR, RPG Enterprises.

Consumer electronics firm Panasonic is awaiting government regulations and will do a risk analysis. “We are monitoring the current situation and will take a call on the next steps basis risk analysis and in line with government regulations," said Adarsh Mishra, CHRO, Panasonic India. “Even when the guidelines on mask and social distancing were made more lenient, we continued to follow strict protocols within office premises and advised our employees to continue with cautious optimism," Mishra added.

Mint reported on 19 April that the surge in covid-19 infections in the National Capital Region (NCR) set alarm bells ringing, with government agencies trying to ascertain if a new covid variant is at play.

Airtel is monitoring the rise in covid cases in the country’s northern belt, and teams have been advised to follow all covid protocols stringently, a person aware of the msatter said on condition of anonymity. The second-largest telecom player did not respond to Mint’s queries on the same.

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