Chennai firms look at phased reopening in October based on pace of vaccination

This comes even as the Tamil Nadu government has extended its COVID-19 induced lockdown till July 31, albeit with several relaxations.
IT Park in Chennai
IT Park in Chennai
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Companies based in Chennai are taking various precautions by vaccinating employees and following a flexible work model as they consider a phased reopening of offices post the second wave of COVID-19 infections. This comes even as the Tamil Nadu government has extended its COVID-19 induced lockdown till July 31, albeit with several relaxations. 

Neeyamo, a provider of technology-driven global payroll and HR solutions based in Chennai, has organised a series of vaccination drives for its employees. The company has facilitated Covishield vaccination drives for over 650 employees in partnership with Apollo Hospitals in Chennai. Neeyamo has plans to immunise its entire workforce within the next 30 days as the company gradually returns to work at its offices.

In addition to organising vaccination camps, Neeyamo has also announced a program to reimburse the total vaccination costs of all its employees who want to get their doses at private centres and vaccines of their choice. Neeyamo has also revamped its wellness policies to cater to the current scenario. Hospitalisation leave can be availed by those who test contract COVID-19 by verifying the RT-PCR test, regardless of getting admitted or undergoing home-quarantine. 

“From sanitising our offices regularly to mandating social distancing, we are extending all possible efforts to ensure employee wellbeing by going over and above government-recommended regulations and safety practices as we reopen our offices,” said Rangarajan Seshadri, CEO of Neeyamo. 

Chennai-based ERP solutions provider GOFRUGAL has partially opened for employees volunteering to work from office since July 1, 2021. Formally, it will be reopening all offices from October 2021, based on the pace of vaccination and onset of third wave, if at all.

“We are considering all three: full-time working from office, full-time working from home (WFH), and also hybrid models, based on the personal preference of the employees and business and team needs. We have planned to come up with new policies to accommodate all these models. So, when we open all our offices, we will be working with all three models,” said Amudha Harisekar, Vice President – People Delight, GOFRUGAL. 

WEGoT Utility Solutions, based in Chennai, has currently adopted a flexible model. “We intend to continue working from home for most of the departments for the next quarter as well, unless a particular task cannot be done remotely. We will review the condition again in October and then decide if flexible work mode needs to be extended,” said Abilash Haridass, Co-Founder, Chief of Growth and Strategy, WEGoT. 

WEGoT is ensuring that all the employees complete their vaccination doses well in advance before a full-fledged 'work from the office' environment is resumed. In addition to vaccination, the office space will be designed keeping the COVID-19 protocols in place with sanitation facilities. The company said that over the last one year, WFH has shown increased productivity for employees that don’t require them to be on the field. 

“We will consider only vaccinated employees for coming to the office for work initially. With respect to vaccination, we have organised vaccination drives within the company for employees and their family members to avail vaccines, and are also reimbursing their vaccination costs,” Abilash added. 

WEGoT has announced a special assistance program to support employees and their family members which will offer them medical support and guidance – three days of paid leaves assigned to employees to recover from vaccination side effects if any, 14 days of paid leave for coronavirus positive employees, and oxygen concentrator support for all employees and their dependents as first aid.

Apartment management platform MyGate, which has an office in Chennai, said the health and safety of its team is the top concern right now. “Our offices have been shut since early March last year, and the entire organisation has settled into the new way of working. We have no plan to reopen at the moment, barring critical functions such as IT and finance. We will think of reopening only once everyone is fully vaccinated, but even then, it would probably be gradual. We have organised vaccination drives for our teams and will be making arrangements for the second dose as well,” said Abhishek Kumar, COO and Co-Founder of MyGate.

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