With vaccines for employees and flexible work models, Bengaluru firms open up

Even as lockdown restrictions have been eased, companies in the city are proceeding cautiously with regard to opening up of offices.
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With the Karnataka government relaxing lockdown restrictions from June 21 in 16 districts including Bengaluru Urban, companies in the city are proceeding cautiously with regard to opening up of offices. Most of the companies have laid stress on vaccinating employees, and following a hybrid working model. 

Financial services firm Ezetap said it had started a business continuity process weeks ahead of the nationwide lockdown in March 2020. “We followed the 30-60-90 model for the same. We started by asking group heads to request 30% of their team's workforce to work from home (WFH). When this had stabilised, we tried with 60% of the workforce, slowly graduating this to 90% and eventually 100%. We are currently working fully from home and will only follow a hybrid model going forward,” said Sphoorti Kumar, Director, Talent & Culture, Ezetap. 

Ezetap said WFH is working quite smoothly and teams have been more collaborative and in fact, the company has seen much higher employee productivity than in the pre-COVID era. The company has even hired people remotely, who will continue to work in that way, and have no need to relocate to the company’s offices. Ezetap conducted a vaccination drive for all its employees in Bengaluru, which also focussed on their family, friends and others. Ezetap says it will only be opening up office spaces in a hybrid model, once a week or once in two weeks if their role demands them to be physically present. “Even when we do open up, we will only be opening up for vaccinated employees or employees who are COVID-19 recovered and have the required antibodies in them,” added Sphoorti. 

Business planning software firm o9 Solutions recently conducted its first vaccination drive in Bengaluru, through which over 130 employees and dependents were safely vaccinated and monitored for post vaccination symptoms. o9 has partnered with EmedLife to ensure seamless vaccination for all employees through Apollo Hospitals. Based on vaccine supply, employees and their dependents have been administered with Covishield. Additionally, the second dose was also organised for employees who had already taken their first dose of Covaxin. 

Essential services provider Healthium Group said that a majority of employees at its Bengaluru facility have been successfully vaccinated. “To create confidence in employees, we have organised several talk sessions by in-house nurses and doctors at our plants to educate on the vaccine, its benefits and address any fears or ambiguity associated with its safety. Our on-premise nurses and company doctors who form an internal COVID task force, have been playing a critical role in managing any query or hesitancy in real-time during vaccination drives,” said Kankana Barua, Chief Human Resource Officer, Healthium Group. Since the company is into essential services, its factories and offices are both open. Further, it is following a hybrid work model and has a rotational roster, with a mix of both WFH and office. 

Edtech platform Byju’s said that as an employee-first company, it wants to ensure that all its employees have strong support during these challenging times. “Being in tune with the challenges our employees are facing is very crucial for us. We have created a Rs 20 crore CEO Fund to enable employees to cover COVID-related medical expenses for their families and themselves. Each employee can apply for reimbursement of up to Rs 5 lakh to cover hospitalisation costs. Additionally, our vaccination drive has already been implemented across locations, administering more than 5,000 doses," a Byju’s spokesperson said. 

Global IT company OpenText launched a comprehensive vaccination drive and several support measures to help its 3,000 Indian employees, as part of the OpenText Voyager Fund. For the convenience of OpenText’s Indian employees, the vast majority of whom continue to work remotely, the vaccination roll-out program has been spread across multiple locations. Employees and family members can get inoculated at vaccination centres set up in OpenText’s Bengaluru office location. They also have an option of going to a hospital of their choice elsewhere in India, or they can go to a partner hospital to receive their vaccine.

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