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Business News/ News / India/  India Inc revives covid protocols as cases rise

India Inc revives covid protocols as cases rise

Companies are directing pandemic-appropriate behaviour at workplaces

The rise in covid cases will again lead to a swift change towards work from home strategy unless essential to be in office. HTPremium
The rise in covid cases will again lead to a swift change towards work from home strategy unless essential to be in office. HT

New Delhi: As a spurt in covid-19 cases sparks mock drills, mask mandates and greater vigil across the country, companies are pulling up socks as well, directing pandemic-appropriate behaviour at workplaces and outside.

Aditya Birla Group, Tata Motors, Panasonic and RPG Group, among others, have asked their employees to wear masks and follow covid-appropriate behaviour. Some have also urged employees to do rapid antigen tests at home if they felt unwell, as they press ahead with hybrid work unless essential to be in office.

“Last week, Aditya Birla Group sent out a mail to employees asking them to take an antigen test if they are unwell and then head out to office if the tests come clear," an executive said on condition of anonymity.

The Union health ministry on Monday reported 5,880 new infections and 14 deaths in the preceding 24 hours, with total active infections touching 35,199. As the numbers climbed, Haryana, Kerala and Puducherry have brought back mask mandates.

“With the recent surge in covid cases, a new notice is issued by the Government of Haryana to make it mandatory requirement for all to wear face masks in all public places. In view of the same as well as keeping our employees’ health and safety as our highest priority, it is mandatory requirement that all employees should wear a mask or cloth-face covering that covers his or her mouth and nose at all times while in the workplace or office area or in public places," Panasonic Life Solutions India wrote to its employees.

As directed by the Union health ministry, mock drills were conducted across the country on Monday to assess hospital preparedness. The drills will continue on Tuesday as well.

Eight states including Kerala, Maharashtra, and Delhi have reported a large number of infections.

“In the wake of the recent spurt in covid infections, we are urging our employees to exercise extreme caution in crowded places or while travelling, which includes usage of masks and frequent sanitizing of hands. We have asked our employees to stay away from their workplaces if they have any symptoms, however mild," Supratik Bhattacharyya, chief talent officer, RPG Group told Mint.

Last week, Tata Motors asked its employees to stay at home if they are unwell or a family member is unwell.

Over the last year, India Inc. has been nudging workers to return to office, limiting the work-from-home option first with hybrid work and then gradually increasing the number of mandatory days at office. The return of covid may now force them to continue hybrid and WFH modes. “We have been working on a hybrid mode and will continue to do so. The advisories have not come to us yet, but there will not be any change in our working now," a top executive at one of the leading consulting companies said.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to adhere strictly to local directives and take the necessary precautions to ensure all safeguard measures are in place," said a Wipro spokesperson.

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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: 11 Apr 2023, 06:22 AM IST
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