For India Inc HQ, it’s still home office

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Reeba Zachariah & Namrata Singh | TNN
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government may have relaxed office attendance rules further to 30% of employee strength from 10%. But leading corporates, which have their HQs in India’s financial capital Mumbai, are in no hurry to bring employees back to offices. At some organisations, while a section of top executives is working out of their office premises, the bulk of employees is still working from home.
At JSW Centre, the headquarters of the $12-billion JSW Group, about 30% people are now operating from the office premises. At Motilal Oswal Financial Services, 20-30% of employees have started attending the workplace.
JSW Group chairman Sajjan Jindal has been functioning from the conglomerate’s HQ in Bandra Kurla Complex since June 8 when the Maharashtra government first allowed private offices to operate with 10% staff strength. A few directors also returned to work, but the rest of the employees continued to work remotely and from their homes.
Some more members have returned to JSW Centre from September 2 when the government raised the office attendance limit to 30%. Those that have started to attend office are vice-presidents. A JSW executive said 30% people are now coming to the JSW Centre, where the total strength before the government implemented the lockdown on March 25 to control the virus, was about 1,000.
At the Tata Group’s headquarters ‘Bombay House’ in south Mumbai, the entire staff of about 400 people, including chairman N Chandrasekaran, will continue to work remotely till September-end. The return-to-work plan will involve bringing staff in phases and gradually ramping it up. Chandrasekaran and key members of his team, however, visited Bombay House on certain days amid the pandemic to conduct annual shareholder meetings of various Tata entities.
At Motilal Oswal Financial Services, the attendance is 20-30%. Motilal Oswal Financial Services executive director & HR head Sudhir Dhar said, “We continue to tell our employees to avoid public transport if they are coming to the office. Those who are attending office are the ones who have their own vehicle.”
With Covid cases still rising, most companies as well as employees are apprehensive about attending office. A KPMG India spokesperson said the firm’s offices are open in case there’s a need for people to come in, based on their client commitments. The rest, said the spokesperson, can continue to work from home. KPMG India partner and head (people, performance & culture) Unmesh Pawar said the number of employees visiting the office is way below the level (30%) and people come to office only if needed. “Most still work from home,” said Pawar.
“Everyone needs to book their seats online before they come to the office and a QR code is required to enter. If the designated number of seats are exceeded, then they can either go to another office or WFH. In Mumbai, we have three offices, so employees can find seats in any of these three offices,” said the KPMG spokesperson.
MZM Legal managing partner Zulfiquar Memon said, “There is both eagerness and concern in the corporate world with this new Unlock 4 notification. The local transport in Mumbai is not yet normalised and that is a huge deterrent for the staff to travel. Law firms and audit companies are increasing the staff and regulating the attendance roll carefully. But I must say that the fear in the minds of the people in general is still high.”



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