In its attempt to curb and control the spread of coronavirus at its workplace in Bengaluru, Flipkart has passed a mandatory order for its entire 11,000-strong workforce at its Bellandur office premises to work-from-home for the next three days.
While there have been no suspicious or positive cases of coronavirus affected employees at Flipkart's offices across India, this move by the company is more of a proactive measure to warn and create heightened levels of awareness among employees.
India's Biggest Work-from-Home experiment
Seen as a massive experiment by Corporate India, Flipkart in its email to employees has described this exercise as "a dry-run to observe" and understand how the company manages its operations, in case, a work-from-home initiative is implemented during emergencies. Flipkart employees with a recent international travel history and flu-like symptoms are asked to not come to the office for the next 14 days and consult with their managers.
Flipkart in its email to employees said, "Our BCP (business continuity plan) takes into account the potential risks a situation like Covid-19 can have on our strategic operations and our customer obligations. This trial is mandatory and we request your cooperation in helping us to implement the same."
This move by the US retail giant Walmart-owned company, Flipkart comes at a time when 4 positive Covid-19 cases are detected in Bengaluru, of which two employees each of Dell and Mindtree are tested positive.
Plan of Action
The company has asked employees to further note that "for the dry-run to be effective, employees should not postpone meetings, campaigns and regular work to a later date ..but use digital tools available to collaborate with teams and executive work."
During the next three days, as a part of the work-from-home arrangement, the customer experience team of Flipkart will be working from partner locations and relevant details will be shared by their respective managers to the team.
By issuing a three-day mandatory work-from-home directive, Flipkart is testing the preparedness of its workforce to work remotely using digital/video tools. In a separate media statement, Flipkart said it is performing deep cleaning at its premises and advising delivery executives to observe extra caution when dealing with customers, since they have direct exposure to consumers during product delivery.
Covid-19 is disrupting businesses and the supply chain of global e-tailers, dependent on China for the import of goods. The effects of this disruption will be clearly visible in the pricing and availability of certain products over the next few months.
Its rival Amazon said in a statement, "Among other standard measures at Amazon, is letting people work from home if they are feeling unwell."
Other corporates follow same protocol
Bengaluru is popularly known as the Silicon Valley of India and is home to several startups. As the coronavirus outbreak has raised concerns among individuals, several other companies and startups have taken up the idea of allowing its employees to work from home.
Besides Flipkart, fintech startup Instamojo, ed-tech platform Unacademy, urban mobility firm Bounce, social commerce firm Meesho and online trading platform Zerodha have mandated that its employees work from home.