Home/ News / India/  How e-com helps delivery staff cool off in hot summer

MUMBAI : As temperatures soar, delivery partners for e-commerce firms are feeling the heat, prompting the companies to establish rest centres, provide oral rehydration sachets, and replace uniform cloth with material better suited to hot weather conditions.

Industry watchers said the demand-supply gap led companies to take measures to prevent riders from falling sick.

“Most companies hadn’t given it much thought until recently. But now, those who work as feet on the streets have many options, and companies need to take care of them. Employers have to look into the heat factor, or their businesses will suffer," said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive director of TeamLease Services.

Amazon has started conducting summer safety workshops for its delivery partners, among other things. “We are providing ‘cold refuge’ and oral rehydration solution (ORS) for delivery associates at delivery stations, where they can rest in ‘cool’ spaces and keep themselves hydrated," said Amazon in an emailed response.

The company, which has thousands of delivery agents working for it, is also conducting “training sessions on summer safety and dos and don’ts during the heatwave".

Competitor Flipkart said it is providing heat shelters at waiting areas outside the hubs and other affected locations. Glucose and water are also being provided to help delivery partners stay hydrated. Additional coolers and fans are also provided to ensure comfortable working conditions.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) expects a hotter-than-usual summer this year. Online grocery delivery app Zepto has changed the cloth from which uniforms of delivery partners are made. “The aim was to make uniforms that would protect them from heatwaves," said Roma Bindroo, chief human resources officer at Zepto. The company will also offer glucose sachets to their last mile agents at all warehouses pan-India.

“To help cope with the heatwave, delivery executives have access to resting benches and water stations, and, like last year, buttermilk will be made available across the vast majority of Instamart pods," said food delivery platform Swiggy. Instamart is the option available to Swiggy customers who want to get their products delivered within minutes. “Our delivery executives are also provided with full-sleeve T-shirts made with 100% breathable dry-fit mesh fabric to offer protection from the harsh sun," the company said in response to Mint’s queries.

In February, rival food delivery startup Zomato announced the Shelter Project, under which rest points would be created where delivery partners from across platforms can take a breather. According to the company blog, these rest points will offer clean drinking water, phone-charging stations, access to washrooms, high-speed internet, a 24×7 helpdesk and first-aid support. “We recognize that delivery partners face multiple challenges while on the job, from navigating through traffic to delivering orders in inclement weather," said the company in its blog.

These initiatives come at a time when delivery partners and gig workers are seeing companies roll out special insurance policies, health plans and accident insurance because demand for doorstep deliveries is rising, and there is a fight for talent.

Devina Sengupta
Devina Sengupta reports on the shifts in India Inc’s workplaces, HR policies and writes about the developments at India’s biggest conglomerates. Her stories over the last decade have been picked up and followed by Indian and international news outlets. She joined Mint in 2022 and previously worked with The Economic Times and DNA-Money.
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Updated: 03 May 2023, 05:21 PM IST
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