Tech firms offer ‘support’ to employees as Covid cases surge

Companies are advising employees not to venture out of their homes and give prominence to the health and safety of the family.

Infosys, Facebook, Genpact, and Cognizant, among others, have reached out to employees and offered support in different ways as the second wave of Covid cases sees an exponential rise.

Companies are asking employees to stay indoors and prioritise the health and safety of their families.

This is of significance as several information technology firms were going to take a call on work-from-home from June and had plans to allow some employees to come back to work.

In an email  to employees on Monday, titled ‘Stay Safe from the Covid-19 Second Wave’, Infosys chief operating officer U B Pravin Rao cited the enormous number of fresh cases being reported daily, and said, “I write today to request you all put your health and that of your family members above everything else.

“Do not leave your homes without wearing a protective mask, practice social distancing, and avoid crowds and closed spaces.

“We request you not to venture out unless it is an emergency.”

Infosys has also asked all staff to work from home unless they have to report to work as part of a business continuity plan team.

Facebook India has announced three company-wide paid holidays “to give people additional time to rest and recharge”.

In an internal communication to employees on Saturday, Facebook India vice-president and managing director (MD) Ajit Mohan said, “We are deeply conscious that we are going through a tough time in India and a lot of you are experiencing fatigue and burnout.

“Given the grim pandemic situation, our people are facing increased challenges to self-care, and many are carrying the additional care-giving responsibilities.”

Similarly, business process management firms have increased their employee communication, in addition to the focus they’ve had since last year on the health and wellness of employees.

“We understand that the resurgence of Covid-19 in India comes with increasing personal and professional challenges for our employees.

“Our chief executive officer (CEO) Tiger Tyagarajan is reinforcing the need to stay safe, to extend support to colleagues across borders, and to demonstrate empathetic resilience and agility, in order to focus on client work that is most important, and reprioritise work that is not client critical,” said a Genpact spokesperson.

In an email sent to all employees last week, Rajesh Nambiar, chairman and MD of Cognizant India, said, “While we had hoped to recover from Covid-19, the numbers are growing significantly across India.

“Now, more than ever, we need to stay alert, continue to take precautions, and follow safety measures to stop the spread.”

He further said employees should report any illness, follow local health guidelines, practice social distancing, and stay home if they feel unwell.

Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO, InMobi Group, in an audio message to the leadership team said, “I am more than happy to help anybody at any point in time in the company, or in their extended family or friends if they need help.

“Please reach out, do not hesitate, you will not be able to activate things by yourselves.”

He cautioned all employees of InMobi Group, saying for the past 14 months or so of the Covid breakout, this probably is the worst he has seen.

“The number of cases and deaths of people whom I have known have been 7-8 in the last 24 hours.

“Some of them I couldn’t save, and equal numbers are still searching for hospital beds.

“We do not have any systemic solution for this. The only way to deal with this is for you and your team members and family to stay in.

“Nothing is more important than saving yourselves. Our system cannot take cases, there is no capacity,” said Tewari.

Photograph: PTI Photo

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