Managing workforce in the time of coronavirus

The rapid outbreak of the coronavirus has changed the way we live, work, and communicate. Across the globe, organisations are scrambling to deal with the pandemic by focusing on their primary responsibility i.e. caring for their employees while navigating the shift to new patterns of work.

 

As governments make significant interventions in response to contain the spread of disease, organisations are exercising social distancing.

 

One of the immediate impacts of COVID-19 is remote working or working from home. Though, interventions and implementations are different for each organisation.

 

A lot of them are encouraging the video conference for meeting and interviews, calls, skill and response programmes and much more.

 

Read here what companies are doing to help and safeguard their employees at this critical time:

 

Adarsh Mishra, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), Panasonic India

 

"At Panasonic, we have been closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and taking strict measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our employees across. Complying to the norms of Government and WHO, we are exercising social distancing, and have asked our colleagues across the country to work from home, encouraging self-quarantine measures. For the ad-hoc team on field, our HBAs (HR Business Ambassadors) are in regular touch to keep a check on their wellbeing.

 

To ensure seamless business continuity, we have strengthened our IT systems and recently launched Workplace – an internal communications platform which is helping all of us stay engaged and connected. Processes have been put into place wherein employees and their respective managers discuss daily agenda, updates of activities in pipeline and do virtual meetings on a regular basis. To ensure, a lively work environment, we've created fun groups for employees to help break the monotony.

 

Keeping in mind the critical situation, we at Panasonic, are taking all cautionary measures directed by the governments and advising all our stakeholders to stay strong and, be cautiously optimistic in this hour."

 

 

Nagina Singh - Executive Director, HR, DBS Bank India

 

"We have taken extensive precautionary measures in our efforts to curb the spread of the virus or as the authorities are calling it 'flatten the curve'. We have a dedicated crisis management team, headed by our CEO, which is closely monitoring developments.

 

As a bank, we are committed to providing essential services to our customers while ensuring complete safety and wellbeing of our staff. Our technology teams have worked tirelessly to increase the number of critical applications that can be accessed from home to enable employees to work remotely. We have made specific transport and food arrangements for all the critical staff who need to work in the branches. Our commitment to care is not just restricted to our employees but also includes the everyday heroes, such as our cleaning and service staff and security guards who have been keeping our offices and branches safe.

 

Temperature screening is being carried out for all customers and employees at all entrances of our branches. For customers who visit our branches, there is an added requirement to fill travel history form to ensure broader safety and contact tracing. Sanitizers and masks are available for customers and employees, and we have heightened the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting our premises.

 

As part of our COVID-19 response program, we have arranged specialized platforms and facilities for the staff. We have organized sessions with healthcare specialists to build awareness around COVID-19 and familiarize employees with its symptoms. These sessions also offer knowledge on basic safety measures and tips for maintaining personal hygiene. Our iHealth portal empowers employees to chat with qualified medical professionals and resolve queries related to COVID-19. We have an iSparrow App to equip employees with medical insurance. Furthermore, our 24 Response App is on standby at all times for medical emergencies.

 

We have a robust communication framework in place to regularly update our staff about the measures we are taking to manage the situation."

 

Anuradha Bharat, Head - People Operations, Razorpay

 

"A lot of us haven't experienced life during a pandemic. Yet, with working from home mandates and social distancing, it is heartening to see that all of us across the world are doing all that we can to ensure the spread of the virus is substantially reduced. Here at Razorpay, the safety of our employees and our community is our highest priority and we are complying with all precautions to ensure this. From a business productivity standpoint, as a new age technology company, Work From Home is a common practice at Razorpay. And given the current situation, we are strongly encouraging and mandating our team to work digitally until the situation needs, and providing them with the necessary resources to ensure business continuity."

 

She added, "Daily calls with team managers and the leadership team are helping us solve any blockers that our employees may be facing, and at the earliest. A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is something that we have always had in place and given the current situation, it is now fully activated across the whole company. Our cross-functional trainings are also helping teams to be prepared to back each other up at all times."

 

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India

 

"Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in January in China, Barco has set up a global response team that is monitoring and supporting Barco's operations on a daily basis and is focusing both on the safety and health of its employees, as well as on ensuring business continuity. In order to safeguard the wellbeing of its employees and while taking into account local or regional sanitary & health regulations, the company strengthened personal hygiene measures throughout the organization, as well as business travel restrictions. Barco also expanded its home-work protocol and implemented social distancing measures for employees in all its sites, offices as well as production facilities. Conditions vary depending on the region and Barco's covid-19 response team is reviewing the situation site by site, again with the same objective to ensure business continuity while also taking into account all applicable covid-19 regulations."

 

Mohan Monteiro, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), House of Hiranandani

 

"At House of Hiranandani, we are committed to the safety and welfare of our employees at all times. We have apprised all our employees on the measures that need to be followed during this time. We have requested them to stay home and practice social distancing as the most important steps to fight this crisis.

 

Each team has set processes and norms to be followed while working from home. Our employees are effectively using video calls, conference calls and chat to ensure seamless communication. To make sure that that our business continues uninterrupted or with the least impact, we are promoting our projects through digital enablers for domestic and international customers. These are working well and we plan to continue in this manner until things return to normal.

 

We believe work productivity has not been impacted much, as each of our employees is acting responsibly and working to their best during these challenging times. We are constantly in touch with all of them, and helping them with ways in which they can perform at their best levels while staying home. We trust and empower them to make the best decisions for our stakeholders, and manage their deliverables as always."

 

Anthony Joseph, President – Global Human Resources, HGS

 

"As an organisation, the safety of our employees, their families and the community is our top priority. We are committed to complying with government directives and medical advisory while implementing safe working environment and adopting social distancing practices. In addition to the welfare of our employees we need to continue to serve our clients in these challenging circumstances to ensure continued livelihood of those we're responsible to. We have been migrating to remote working environments and have increased the capacity of our IT network and technology capabilities to facilitate work from home practices.

 

We have been communicating continuously with all stakeholders internally and externally, using various tools and channels including direct one on one and group communication virtually. However, in these challenging times, sometimes everything you do may not be enough considering the rapid changes and constraints. It's essential to manage emotions too and practice effective listening."

 

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