India’s largest firm Reliance Industries has initiated work-from-home for its staff while keeping open consumer-facing businesses of hospital, retail stores and telecom with a minimum workforce amid increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani will hold a meeting almost every third day to take stock of the impact of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on his employees and business, officials said.
Precautions have been taken at Reliance Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai and its refining and petchem complex in Jamnagar, they said adding that the production unit in Patalganga and the retail outlets are also following standard sanitation and hygiene processes.
The oil-to-telecom conglomerate initiated a work from home protocol for its employees across the country and overseas in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. This protocol will be effective until March 31.
It, however, will maintain minimum strength at the workplace to ensure business continuity.
Reliance Industries (RIL) joins a host of Indian companies that have ordered work-from-home to prevent their employees from being infected by the virus.
Reached for comments, RIL spokesperson said: “The company has migrated to an ‘Agile Work From Home’ protocol that encourages all employees to work from home and to utilise all productivity and digital tools at their disposal to maximise productivity.”
The staff has been advised to communicate more often among each other than on normal days and to stay connected over Outlook, MS Teams and enterprise platforms as well as the company’s other internal platforms.
“However, considering the public requirements in such an unprecedented situation, RIL will continue to provide all essential services to the citizens and will keep open its main retail grocery stores, its telecom connectivity services, the hospital and any other essential services required for public or business continuity,” the spokesperson said.
For the essential services, RIL would deploy about 10% of its staff on a rotation basis.
The firm is providing health safety training to all its essential staff through frequent advisories and communication, the spokesperson said adding the company will also reimburse app taxi fare for such staff for work-related commute during this period so as to reduce pressure on public transport.
“The company lauds the ‘ownership mindset’ of employees and, while it understands the need for some staff to be physically present for business-critical functions, it assures them that their safety at the workplace is the company’s highest priority and all standards of sanitation and hygiene have been implemented including its entire emergency response infrastructure in a ready state,” the spokesperson said.
In an advisory to employees, RIL executive director Hital R. Meswani said the work-from-home starts from Wednesday.
“We encourage everyone to work from home. In case the nature of your work is such that it cannot be performed from home then you may be required to come to the office,” he wrote. “In addition, we will maintain minimum strength at the workplace to ensure business continuity.”
“We are all in this unprecedented situation together as one Reliance family. We trust that our values of One Team and Ownership Mindset drive every judgment you make in the best interest of everyone around you,” he added.
“Let us support each other, stay calm, and tide over this challenge together.”
RIL will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate its response mechanisms on a real-time basis.
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