Hyderabad: Information Technology companies in the city will have to work according to strict guidelines if they want to ramp up their employee attendance.
The Telangana government, Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC) and Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA) have released a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for all IT companies and IT parks in the city.
This SOP has listed out several mitigation measures in view of the pandemic, along with steps to take when an employee tests positive for Covid-19 or comes in contact with a Covid-19 positive patient.
Pregnant women and parents of children under the age of five have to continue to work from home. The same applies to employees with parents or family members aged above 65 or with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, asthma and so on.
Companies will not allow employees who are residents of containment zones.
Those who have travelled to Telangana from containment, red and orange zones in other states are also not allowed.
Importantly, no creches will be allowed to operate on any office campus.
One of the most important conditions is that all companies, irrespective of their size, should set up isolation facilities on office premises. These rooms would have an independent HVAC system and have access to protective equipment such as PPE kits, sanitisers and gloves.
All personnel will be required to wear masks without fail and their temperature will be taken at entry points.
Employees will have to submit a document declaring good health, and are requested to self-report Covid-19 symptoms. They will also have to come forward to report if any household member has tested positive or if they have come in contact with an infected person.
If an individual reports Covid-19 symptoms at the workplace, a designated team will take them to the isolation room. Until they are moved off the premises, they will have to wear a PPE kit. If they test positive, the company will have to inform the Health department of the same and perform contact tracing. All those who came in contact would be asked to self-isolate and seek medical attention.
Industry insiders have admitted that the guidelines are quite comprehensive and not all companies will be in a position to follow them to the letter. For instance, the mandate of setting up isolation facilities in the office might prove difficult for small companies. But IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan told Deccan Chronicle this condition is compulsory.
“If they are unable to set up a separate isolation room, they will have to continue working from home,” he said, adding, “That being said, buildings can have a common isolation facility for use by all companies located within it.”
Although the Telangana government has allowed the companies to work at 100 per cent capacity, this is unlikely to happen any time soon. Bharani Kumar Aroll, president of HYSEA, said most companies want to wait a while for transmission of the virus to come under control.
Companies are currently operating with around five per cent attendance. “This number will likely rise to seven or eight per cent this week. According to the discussions we have had with companies until now, ramping up will be very gradual,” he said. Mr Aroll predicted that even by the end of this year, attendance was only likely to be around 75 per cent.
Krishna Yedula, general secretary of SCSC, had similar views. He said it was impossible for companies to operate at full strength even if they wanted to, because of social distancing guidelines. “It is only possible if companies are allowed to work in shifts, thereby dividing the workforce into manageable batches. However, this isn’t possible now because employees have to return home by evening due to the statewide curfew,” he said.
The SOP, which was originally issued on May 15, also requires the mandatory installation of Aarogya Setu by employees. However, IT secretary Mr Ranjan said this isn’t valid anymore in light of the recent guidelines of the ministry of home affairs which require employers to get it installed on a “best effort” basis.
- Employees staying in containment zones, those who have travelled to Telangana from containment, red or orange zones in other states not allowed into office
- Pregnant women, parents with children under age of five, employees with family members above 65 to work from home
- All personnel to wear masks
- Daily temperature checks at entry points
- Employees to submit self-declaration of good health
- Employees to self-report in case they or their family members test positive for Covid-19 or they come in contact with an infected patient
- No creches to be allowed to operate on office premises
- All companies to set up isolation rooms with an independent HVAC (air-conditioning) system and have supply of protective equipment
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