Manufacturing companies to continue WFH in offices even as production ramps up on shop floor
Mumbai: Till earlier this year, work from home (WFH) was not a popularly practised policy at most of India’s manufacturing companies.
The pandemic and the resultant lockdown not only prompted many of them to adopt remote working but with the rising cases of the virus, companies including Mahindra & Mahindra,
, KEC International, Thermax and Ceat may continue WFH for white-collar office employees for the next 2-3 months.
WFH may continue until the time companies are sure that the risk of contagion has reduced, said the HR heads of some of these companies.
“It’s WFH for Mahindra offices in Mumbai. This is going to remain till we are sure that we are not adding to the risk,” Mahindra & Mahindra chief HR officer Rajeshwar Tripathi said. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation and will take a call month by month as the situation eases.”
The decision of manufacturing companies comes at a time when they are ramping up production. They are working in staggered shifts on shop floors and capacity utilisation is nearly 100% for many of them.
Dalmia Bharat Group CHRO Ajit Menon said office employees across functions would continue to work from home as long as it was required. “Work productivity has enhanced ever since WFH started. We will continue with this at least for the next 2-3 months and then decide the future course,” he said.
Several roles may be permanently moved to WFH, including functions such as finance, accounts, IT (except helpdesk), corporate finance and HR, while certain others like legal and project teams will be moved to hot desking where people will be required to be in the office once or twice a week.
Only people who are in client-facing roles such as sales and transport will be the ones who may be needed to come to the office regularly. On the shop floor, 50% of the employees are working in three different shifts over 24 hours, Menon said.
With the daily count of coronavirus cases increasing in the country, steel major Tata Steel “will continue WFH for some more time”, said Suresh Tripathi, vice president – HR.
Car market leader Maruti Suzuki, which has reached almost pre-Covid production levels working full strength on the shop floor, has most of its white-collar office staff operating remotely. “We are taking a guarded and cautious approach and will not do anything at the cost of infection or risking employees,” said a spokesperson.
Global manufacturing majors in India also plan to continue WFH in the near future.
“Members of our workforce, who have settled into remote working routines, will continue to do so as we monitor the situation,” said Emrana Sheikh, Johnson & Johnson’s enterprise HR head – India & South Asia. “Decisions related to our phased approach of returning to the workplace are being made with great care and consideration,” she added.
At Toyota Kirloskar Motor, most office employees, including those at the automaker’s strategic business units based in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, are still working from home. “Going forward and considering the safety and security of our employees and all our stakeholders as our first and foremost priority, we will continue to take all possible preventive and remedial measures necessary to deal with prevailing situations,” said a spokesperson.
( Originally published on Sep 22, 2020 )