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Telcos looking to reopen all offices by June after restrictions ease

Telcos are looking to reopen all their offices by June after latest relaxations in lockdown 4.0, and have started the process in green zones and even bringing back staff in key functions in a graded manner. They have also stepped up sanitisation drills and enforced strict social distancing protocols to ensure coronavirus doesn’t spread inside office premises.

Bharti Airtel has reopened offices in the Covid19 green zones, following the latest lockdown relaxations, and plans to reopen the rest next month. “We have initiated a staggered opening of our offices in all green zones while our essential staff continues to be on the field,” a senior Bharti Airtel executive told ET.

He added that “Airtel, subject to further guidance from government (s), plans to open the remaining offices in a staggered way from next month (read:June)”.

Another telco biggie has initially brought back around 15% of its work-force to offices across the country, and will take a call on deploying more staff after May 31 — the day lockdown 4.0 ends.

“We’ve taken steps to safely bring back around 15% staff to offices in green, orange and red zones in key functions such as networks, sales & marketing, finance, HR and admin,” a senior executive of this telco told ET.

The telco, he said, had also put in place strict social distancing protocols to ensure staff is safe and infection doesn’t spread. “Office premises are being sanitised at least thrice a day, and every staffer is being given a pack of 30 masks a month, to ensure they use and throw every day and don’t reuse,” he added.

The Airtel executive cited above, in turn, said the Sunil Mittal-led telco’s employee strength across all its offices would be strictly capped to maintain social distancing, adding that coming to office would be voluntary and all company employees could continue working from home.

At press time, Jio and Vodafone Idea did not reply to ET’s queries.

Network vendors though are yet to bring back bulk of their workforce to office even though essential network engineers and field crew continue to ensure that telco networks run smoothly.

Ericsson India said any decision to open offices would depend on its own assessment of the Covid 19 situation. “Given that the health and safety of our employees is of paramount importance, we will be carrying out a thorough safety and diligence process, before opening up the offices,” a company spokesperson said. Its Pune production unit though is operational with requisite staff for meeting local and export commitments.

A Huawei India spokesperson said the Chinese gear maker has set up a dedicated epidemic prevention & control emergency response team, preparing essential supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure continued necessary support to its-operator customers during and post-lockdown.

—Gadgets Now

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