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BusinessReturn-to-Office: Vaccination, safety protocols major concerns for techies

Return-to-Office: Vaccination, safety protocols major concerns for techies

Published: 31st Jul 2021 7:45 pm | Updated: 1st Aug 2021 12:30 am

Hyderabad: Even as a majority of IT companies are keen to call back employees to office, apprehensions and fears over Covid-19 situation continue to trouble most of the employees.

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The pandemic which pushed the IT and ITES functioning into Work From Home (WFH) mode last year is not over yet, the techies argue while urging companies to re-evaluate their Return-to-Office (RTO) plans before making any decision.

The topmost priority and deciding factor for techies to return to office is full vaccination of all employees being called back to office. Second in this list are the safety protocols and working culture that will be followed by companies once employees resume regular office work. And finally, employees are also demanding regular and periodic testing of employees by the company.

“We have been working from home for more than a year now and we are also keen to return to office, meet our friends and colleagues. However, companies must provide us with proper guidelines that they are going to follow to maintain safety. Majority of my team members and other colleagues have not been fully vaccinated and those who have got their first dose have their second dose scheduled only in August or September. In such a scenario, it is important that the companies wait till the second doses are completed and then take a decision,” a 30-year-old IT employee said on condition of anonymity.

Echoing similar views, industry experts also opine that the average age of the IT employee in Hyderabad is between 25-35 years old. And with the vaccination for 18 above opening up recently, many have not been able to get their second dose although companies are regularly organising vaccination drives.

“The vaccine situation needs to get cleared for a safe working environment,” an IT company head said.

The second demand from the employees is a safe working culture, which means companies must look at cross ventilation and redesigning of workplaces.

“Most of the companies operate in a closed environment which is extremely unsafe in the prevailing situation. Companies must reconsider redesigning of workplaces and provide a safe environment for those who return to office,” said Kiran Chandra, president, Forum for IT Professionals.

New RTO rules:

Many IT companies have adopted contactless and touch-less exit and entry zones for employees. Biometric attendance has been replaced by app-based log in. In addition, companies have also created social distancing norms wherein a single person, who previously would occupy 100 sqft, would now occupy 120-150 sqft of space.

“IT and ITeS companies are also looking at employee rotation model wherein each employee would be called maybe 2-3 times a week so as to avoid crowding. Many IT Parks have also done drives to vaccinate not just employees but also service guys that include housekeeping staff and drivers,” says Bharani K Aroll, president, Hysea.

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