March 6 2020: The global spread of Coronavirus is forcing people to change their working habits-- and companies to embrace 'work from home ' and other distributed working patterns.
Cognizant India has temporarily closed its Hyderabad office and asked its employees to work from home.
Paytm closed its offices in Gurgaon and Noida for a a few days after one of its employees who had recently visited Italy tested positive for coronavirus.
HCL has invoked its contingency Remote Working/Work From Home' strategies.
On February 21, SAP closed its India sales offices and asked staff to work from home till March1, after two of its employees in Bangalore tested positive for the H1N1 virus.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group tweeted: "The crisis will pass, but I think it’s making the world press a permanent ‘Reset’ button. 1) It’ll accelerate working from home 2) lead to more digital ‘virtual’ conferences 3) More video calls, less meetings.4) Less air travel, leading to a greener footprint. Anything else?"
Peter Quinlan, Vice President of Unified Communications and Collaboration Product Management, Tata Communications explains how the company’s flexible working policies and a variety of unified collaboration technologies adopted is aiding the employees to stay safe in their home as the COVID- 19 virus spreads across the globe.\
“Tata Communications is fortunate in that, as a global company with a highly distributed workforce, for some time now we’ve had in place flexible working policies - like work from home, flexible working hours, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and virtual collaboration environments – as well as a variety of unified collaboration technologies widely adopted within the company. While we have introduced certain travel restrictions in the current scenario, employees have taken this in stride since collaboration with remote colleagues was already the norm, and our teams are quite comfortable leveraging chat, voice, video and collaboration tools to get their jobs done. Companies that find this a new experience as they respond to the threat of Coronavirus need not despair, however, as today’s technologies can be readily deployed from the cloud and introduced to users with really minimal training. I believe the effect of this outbreak will be both an immediate acceleration of organizations’ plans for collaboration technologies and flexible work policies, as well as a longer-term shift in people’s willingness to embrace these technologies – it will become the new “normal”. We already live in a world where users are always connected through personal devices and fast internet connections. Coronavirus appears set to create a compelling event for people to change their working habits. If it lasts for more than even a few weeks, as it appears on track to, those changed habits will become permanent. While it may be unplanned, now is a great time for companies to look at how they enable and empower their distributed workforce to collaborate, and doing so will pay dividends into the future, long after the current threat has subsided.”
Says Bhavin Turakhia, Founder and CEO at Flock: “As fresh cases of Coronavirus, commonly known as COVID-19 are being reported in India, more and more companies are giving their employees the option to work from home. This is being done as a precaution so that people avoid non-essential travel. As such circumstances may push employees to work from home – such situations can’t necessarily be in their control. At times, employees may not even have the chance to set a backup during such an emergency. In times like these, communication apps like Flock help maintain this balance by providing employees with the liberty to work remotely. At Flock, we use an all in one solution tool that takes care of your company’s messaging, videoconferencing and screen sharing, file sharing, and productivity needs. This power packed suite of services helps boost workplace productivity by fostering smooth team collaboration and communication.”