Sunday, December 5

Kolkata: Private firms go in for staggered timings, offer transport for employee safety

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Following chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s appeal for staggered hours at government and private offices, corporate firms, IT majors as well as small private offices that have resumed operations during Unlock 1.0 have started phasing out employees’ presence at work to ensure their safety in a less-crowded space.

Top management officials of Titagarh group and Emami said they had assigned their employees on multiple shifts, ensuring not more than 20% were at office at any given time. “We have also put them on different floors to ensure the office is never very crowded,” said a senior official of the company. A senior ITC official said, “Most of our employees are working from home. For those coming to office, we are maintaining social distancing norms, as prescribed by WHO.”

Exide has been advising employees to avoid public transport. It has been providing transport to those who do not own vehicles. “I have been cycling to office. I want to set an example for my juniors that if a person of my age can avoid public transport, we all can,” said Sudipto Roy, 54-year-old Exide CPRO who cycles to the office at Rabindra Sadan from his home on Pratapaditya Road.

At most IT companies, such as Wipro and Cognizant, over 95% employees are working from home. “Only those on projects that haven’t received approval for WFH from customers are coming to office,” Wipro Ltd had said in a statement.

Airtel, whose most stores have opened, has rolled out steps, such as ‘Concierge Service’ for delivery of SIM or installation of broadband and DTH. Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal said over a million customers had enrolled on its ‘Super Heroes’ programme, helping millions stay connected during the lockdown and after Amphan.

Smaller firms, like Anonymous in Golf Green, which has 20-odd employees, said they had started staggered timings . “We are asking those with personal vehicles to reach work by 10.30am and leave early and the others can come in the afternoon and leave at their convenience. They can also work from home,” said Suvajit Dutt, one of the partners.

But many at medium and small firms claimed they had to take public transport and were even marked absent on reaching late. “I was marked for half-day thrice last week for reaching an hour late. I have to walk 10 km. I have been told if I don’t come to office, my job will be at stake,” said a woman employed at a car showroom.

(With inputs from Sovon Manna)
Source: Times of India

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