From virtual meetings to work from home: How are firms tackling coronavirus challenge

On Tuesday, social media giant Twitter announced that it will be “strongly encouraging” its employees across the globe to work from home
Many companies are asking staff to take preventive measures and avoid crowded areas.(AP)
Many companies are asking staff to take preventive measures and avoid crowded areas.(AP)
Updated on Mar 04, 2020 12:10 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

As the total number of positive coronavirus cases in India jumps to 6, many firms across the country are now taking a slew of precautionary measures.

While some companies have put a cut on employee travels, others are contemplating to ask staff to work from home and hold virtual meetings.

As per reports, over 20 people who worked with Hyderabad patient in Bengaluru have been asked to work from home.

Travel cuts

IT firms in Gurugram, Haryana have asked staff to work from home. Nagarro, a Gururgam-based software company, asked its employees to avoid non-essential travel, and work from home unless it was necessary to come to the office.

“We have also asked our colleagues to cancel all team parties or gatherings and avoid conducting in-person workshops or trainings. Preventive measures like regular washing of hands, using sanitizers and avoiding contact with people having cold are being encouraged,” said a company spokesperson.

The companies have also asked their staff to take preventive measures and avoid crowded areas.

Manesar-based exporters and those in Udyog Vihar have restricted foreign travel and asked their buyers to postpone visits to India.

Also read: Shortage of doctors, lack of training hurdles in fighting coronavirus in India

Twitter “strongly encourages” work from home

On Tuesday, social media giant Twitter announced that it will be “strongly encouraging” its employees across the globe to work from home to stay protected and safe from the coronavirus outbreak.

In a tweet, company CEO Jack Dorsey said that “significant measures” are being taken “to help lower the probability of spread of coronavirus”.

“Out of an abundance of caution and care, both @Twitter and @Square are taking significant measures to help lower the probability of spread of #coronavirus #covid19, including strongly encouraging all of our employees globally to work from home if able,” read the tweet.

The best bet?

JPMorgan Chase is another multinational that is contemplating to let it employees work from home. According to reports, it may ask thousands of its employees to work from home for a day to test its contingency plans.

As per reports, the British government is also mulling over the idea to ask people to work from home for at least 3 months.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the process of devising an action plan to tackle the spread of the virus which has already infected around 40 people.

Also read: Airport, flight, dinner, clinic: On the trail of Delhi’s Patient Zero

Alternative measures

But for many, working from home is still an unaffordable luxury. Some firms in the West are exploring alternative measures to ensure that the staff remains protected and productive for their businesses.

Facebook’s Seatle office was reported to have been temporarily allowing entry to only those with company business.

A Seattle-based gaming company was reportedly buying parking downtown for those employees who didn’t want to take public transport to commute to work and was even open to buying a 30-day supply of dry or frozen food items for employees. Although, the company isn’t large in size with slightly over 50 employees.

India has stepped up its level os preparedness and has bolstered its screening mechanism to prevent any further rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

This week, the government confirmed three fresh cases of the infection - one from Delhi, another in Hyderabad while the third was an Italian tourist who tested positive for the infection in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Hundreds of people who could have come in contact with the three patients are being closely observed while the authorities work up a plan to trace the possible spread of the virus.

Coronavirus has spread to as many as 60 countries across the globe and has claimed over 3,000 lives worldwide.

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