NEW DELHI :
US auto major Ford has asked its 10,000 employees in India, except those in business-critical roles, to work from home with similar steps being taken by Swedish luxury car maker Volvo and Fiat Chrysler India in the wake coronavirus pandemic.
Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India and Mahindra group said they have implemented a slew of measures, including asking employees who had travelled overseas in the past two weeks to impose self-quarantine while all domestic and international travels have now been restricted.
A Ford India spokesperson said, in recent days, the company has concluded that the issue of coronavirus has taken on a different dimension. The company is continuing to act in real-time to keep its "people safe and help limit the spread of the virus in communities where we live and work".
"Therefore, starting Monday March 16, we have instructed much of our India workforce (over 10,000 people) including Ford India and Global Business Services — except those in business-critical roles that cannot be done away from Ford facilities – to work remotely until further notice," the spokesperson said.
He further said, "The action will additionally help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus while maximising the health of our business. All necessary safety measures have been deployed at Ford locations as well as our dealerships to ensure minimum inconvenience to customers. "In a similar development, Volvo Car India, the wholly-owned arm of Swedish luxury car company Volvo, also announced work from home as a safety measure for its employees due to the rising number of coronavirus infections in India."
The company which has around 40 employees on its rolls in India said all of them have been asked to work from home with immediate effect while necessary IT infrastructure has been put in place to facilitate business continuity.
It, however, said access to the office remains open for any employee who prefers to work from office, after informing respective manager.
Similarly, auto maker FCA India on Tuesday said it has permitted over 50% of its staff in Mumbai and Pune to work from home at least until 31 March.
The work from home alternative for the engineering workforce in Chennai is under consideration and not in play as yet, it added.
"Although no employee of FCA India has reported or tested positive, we are fully aware of the gravity of the situation and are taking quick, proactive steps every day that are necessary for everybody’s well-being," FCA India’s president and managing director Partha Datta said.
When reached out for comments on steps being taken up by the company in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, a Maruti Suzuki India spokesperson said it has issued WHO mandated advisories on personal hygiene, while asking employees to avoid large gatherings, meetings and events. Employees have also been asked to declare their travel history if they have travelled overseas in past two weeks and impose self-quarantine as per guidance from CMO (Chief Medical Officer), the spokesperson added.
Moreover, biometric attendance system has been stopped and replaced with punch card attendance system while employees across plants, regional offices are being advised to extensively use teleconferencing and video conference facilities.
The company is also limiting entry of guests and visitors to its offices while asking visitors to share travel their history as well, the spokesperson added.
Likewise, Mahindra & Mahindra president (Group Communications & Ethics) & chief brand officer, member of the group executive board Ruzbeh Irani said a group-level rapid action force has been formed to constantly monitor the situation and suggest swift and effective action in case of an emergency.
"We have postponed all our internal events which required large gatherings and advised everyone to adequately leverage technologies like – Tele Presence and Video Conferencing," he said adding restrictions have been imposed on domestic and all international travel. He further said,"Self-isolation is advised in case an employee or their family member has travelled from any of the Red-Listed Countries in the last 15 days."On Sunday, Tata Motors had also announced work from home for its office-based employees at headquarters and regional offices.