Employees have been asking state government officials to help them get a pass to return to Hyderabad as offices resume work with a 33% workforce.

Non-Hyd employees not part of 33 workforce that returns to office Telangana IT Secy
Atom IT Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 09:56

With most companies, especially in the IT sector, being allowed to resume operations at offices in Hyderabad with 33% workforce, many employees are hoping to return to work. There are several who travelled back to their hometowns prior to the lockdown and are now stuck there. However, Telangana’s IT and Industries Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan has said that the government is discouraging people from returning to Hyderabad, especially from a different state.

These employees, the top bureaucrat said, should continue to work from home until the lockdown is lifted entirely.

“Inter-state transport is banned. They should work from home. In any case, only 33% are allowed to come to office and the remaining 67% are to work from home. People stuck outside the city will be considered part of that 67%,” Jayesh Ranjan told TNM.

Some of these employees took to Twitter to request Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao (KTR) and other state government officials to help them get a pass to return to Hyderabad for work.

“I have travelled to Markapur, AP on 21st. March and got struck here. My office is going to start from Monday, and I have to go to office. Kindly give us the pass to enter Hyderabad,” one person tweeted at KTR.

“I'm a resident of Kurnool, AP. I'm working in MNC company which is in Hyderabad. Just now I got the update from my company that, the company operations will start from 15th May and they are asking me to come to office or else they will deduct my leaves,” another tweet to KTR said.

Intra-state travel

Within Telangana too, the government is discouraging people from travelling across cities and districts.

“Within Telangana, unless it is an urgent necessity for the person to report to the office, we are discouraging them from travelling,” the Principal Secretary said.

In some cases, employees have been stuck in smaller towns without access to laptops and good internet coverage.

Speaking to TNM, a techie who went back home to his village in Andhra Pradesh said that he needs to return to work since he has been without a laptop for nearly two months now and hasn’t even been able to work from home. Having exhausted his leaves, he hopes to return to Hyderabad to resume work, so he doesn’t lose his job.

“My company is very accommodative and has said that I can work from home. But I had come here just before the lockdown for personal work and got stuck. I don’t have my laptop. And even if I did, there is barely any mobile network here, forget the internet. How long can the company keep paying me without me working?” he asks.

The techie has applied for a pass online in Andhra Pradesh and has even visited local authorities for help, but has not received any response on the pass.

“There is a portal where I applied but there is no progress. Local authorities say they have not sent my request to the government, but haven’t heard back. I doubt that portal is even working,” he adds.

No public transport

Even within Hyderabad, employees are worried about returning to work with no public transport being available.

“I have to travel from Dilsukhnagar to Banjara Hills for work and I don’t own a vehicle. My office is opening from Wednesday. It isn’t as big as the MNCs to offer transportation. I was hoping the government at least opens up buses with 50% capacity so people like me can travel to work,” said the techie.

All the major IT companies and other multinational companies are offering transportation services for employees who will be returning to work.

However, in cases where companies do not offer such transportation, the IT Secretary said that they can’t be helped since the government needs to enforce lockdown rules keeping in mind larger public safety.

“We can’t change the rules now for some. They will have to continue to work from home. We have to look at the larger lockdown picture, which is much more important from a public safety point of view. Nothing can be done,” he said, adding that public transport will not be resumed amid the lockdown.

Companies to work from home

However, major IT companies in the city, like Wipro, Infosys, Google, Amazon, TCS, etc. which have a large presence in Hyderabad, plan to have most of their employees work from home for an extended period of time.

Amazon has said that all its employees will be working from home till July.

Microsoft said that only a small number of employees engaged in essential services will be coming to office.

“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority at Microsoft. We are providing real-time guidance to employees as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in India. At this time, only a small number of employees who perform essential services continue to be on-site at our offices. We will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary action to help protect employees,” a Microsoft spokesperson told TNM.

At Wipro, over 90% of employees are working from home.

“At Wipro, the safety and health of our employees are of paramount importance. Currently, over 90% of our employees are working from home. We will adopt a staggered approach towards reopening offices. This would be in line with guidelines issued by the central and various state governments. We are planning only a small number of employees to return to offices at this point. Most of the employees will continue to work from home,” Wipro said in a statement.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) too, said that 95% of its workforce globally is working from home.

“We are resuming operations in a phased manner in select offices with minimal capacity after careful consideration and taking into account civic authority and state government orders. We have rolled out guidelines in our campuses which includes awareness sessions for employees and vendors, self-declaration forms, alteration of workspace layout and virtual collaboration tools for meetings,” a company spokesperson added.

Also read: Restrictions eased for IT companies in Hyderabad but employees continue WFH

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