The impact of global pandemic is quite apparent now. Businesses have adopted ‘work from home’ as the new normal. People have found new ways to deliver sustainable results from home. And then, there are new recipes to try every other day and online shows to binge-watch with enough time at your disposal!
Well, this picture of life looks superb! But it is just one side of the story. On the other side, Barclays has projected that India is likely to clock a growth rate of zero percent in 2020 till now with the economic loss of $234.4 billion.
The good news is that India is India eases lockdown with the potential change in approach that prevents community transmission of the novel virus.
India is Reopening: What the Future Office Space Looks Like
Wipro has opened its office in Kochi with all the necessary social distancing norms in place. Other big enterprises like HCL and SAP are quickly adopting new social distancing measures to resume the work from office. While SAP is adopting practices like flexible lunch hours and an increase in transportation fleet, HCL is taking every possible sanitation measure to ensure a safe work environment as India eases lockdown.
Challenges in Getting Back to Work as India Eases Lockdown
Getting back to work now that India eases lockdown restrictions is not as easy as it may appear. After all, businesses need to make strategic planning for overcoming the new set of challenges that have appeared during the lockdown. Industries like FMCG, real estate, heavy engineering and manufacturing are slowly getting back in business. The post-lockout business plan will have these burning issues that need to be addressed.
- Getting raw materials on time, as the supply chain process is impacted with the shortage of labour.
- Having adequate workers for different processes, as most of them have migrated to their native places.
- Up-skilling the workforce, as automation is going to be a part of social distancing norms.
- Managing the overall cost with strategical changes in the workplace and investment in many new automation technologies.
- Companies with the dependence on import supplies may have to look for alternative suppliers in the local market.
- Small scale suppliers have incurred a major loss during the lockdown, and they may not bounce back as soon as the demand would go up in the market.
What will Be the Big Post-Lockdown Business Plan?
While many companies in the petroleum and refinery got back in business this Monday, there are some sectors like automobile and cell phone manufacturers who are still creating the blueprint for the post-lockout business plan.
- Get approval from local authorities to start factories
- Create a plan to resume work with the skeletal staff
- Adopt nimble social distancing norms, as one case of Coronavirus detected, and your entire factory would be sealed for days or months.
How to Resume Work from Office as Lockdown Eases
The workplaces will have to function with certain guidelines in place. Thy cannot just start from where they halted before the lockdown. New norms, new office policies and a lot more as India eases lockdown. Let’s find out!
Step 1: Welcome Back Your Employees in Phases
Try to work on a plan where employees come back to the office setup in a sequential manner. Undoubtedly, the preference would be given to those employees who are working on critical projects. If the strict security guidelines from your clients are impacting your processes, try resuming that first with around 25-33 percent of your employees working from the office.
- Plan out which teams need to come back to the office urgently, the rest can work from home for a while.
- Ensure that there is no crowding in your office, as it will lead to the violation of social distancing norms.
- Create a detailed plan for calling in your support staff. You will not need all of them at once. So, bring them back in a phased manner.
Step 2: Adopt Smart Social Distancing Practices
The lockdown will be over sooner or later, but workplaces and employees are not likely to be the same. Social distancing means no food sharing or gathering in the breakout area. What other changes will be evident in the post lockdown workplace? Let’s find out as India eases lockdown.
- The seating arrangement should be such that employees sit at the distance of more than two metres from each other.
- Flexible lunch timings to avoid gatherings and food sharing.
- Employees working in shifts will help prevent crowding in your workplace.
- Use of lifts should be discouraged, so that there is no chance of viral transmission.
Step 3: Virtual Communication is the Key
During the lockdown, small businesses and big enterprises have made the use of collaboration tools alike. And the trend of online face-to-face communication is going to continue. This will help employees stay distant socially while staying connected virtually after India eases lockdown.
- Avoid non-essential visitors in the office and encourage meetings through video calls.
- Meetings or brainstorming sessions with 10 or more people can be easily replaced by web conferencing.
- Internal communications can be promoted through tools like Microsoft Teams, Hangouts, etc. to maintain physical distance.
Step 4: Reduce the Dependency on Public Transport
Public transport getting back on track – it seems like a far cry! So, why not arrange vehicles for your employees with 30-40 percent passenger capacity.
- Arrange vehicles for your employees depending upon your budget
- Those with 2-wheelers can drive themselves to work
- Promote carpooling with one person sitting at the back
- If your office is in the orange or green zone, then some of your employees can take cabs too.
Step 5: Ensure Health & Hygiene of Your Employees
Looks like the novel Coronavirus is not in the mood of mercy, with cases in India increasing every day! One of the best ways to stay safe is to follow these health & hygiene measures not just in office but at any public place.
- Wear your mask throughout to reduce the chance of catching the virus significantly.
- Wash your hands regularly & use sanitizers. Ensure that there is enough sanitizer supply in your office.
- As an employer, make thermal screening mandatory for all your employees every day.
- In the case of an emergency, know about the nearest COVID hospitals where your employees can visit for the check-up.
Step 6: Use of Aarogya Setu App to Be Encouraged
Aarogya Setu app can help employers monitor the health of employees and their vulnerability to Coronavirus. Employees can also use this app to stay cautious and help any person who has already caught the virus.
- Ask your employees to download Aarogya Setu app.
- Ensure that their Bluetooth is on, as it is mandatory to use this app’s features efficiently.
- In case of any emergency, take immediate steps to ensure the isolation of the affected person.
- Ensure that the person gets immediate help from COVID centres nearby.
The need of the hour is smart social distancing where people follow all health measures even when there are no lines or circles. Will this be possible in India? We are hopeful that the best of 2020 is yet to come as India eases lockdown.