In a month, an office-based employee can work two weeks from home, and in special cases, he/she can work remotely for three weeks.
At present, office-based staff are entirely working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the group unanimously keeping all its offices shut.
The new ‘RPG Remote Working Policy’, which is effective prospectively from September 1, is location- and workplace- agnostic. It is applicable to RPG’s global operations as well, and also covers factories and plantations for those workers who don’t work on machines.
Harsh Goenka, chairman, RPG Enterprises, told TOI: “Our new work from home policy shatters the notion of traditional workspace and productivity and has turned it on its head. Employees who are not operating machines in our manufacturing businesses or do not have a client obligation in our technology services business, can work from ‘anywhere’ even after the pandemic is behind us. It aligns with our vision tenet of ‘touching lives’ and brand promise of ‘happiness’.”
In a note to its 30,000 employees across the world, across companies like CEAT, RPG Life Sciences, KEC International, Harrisons Malayalam, RPG Enterprises said it is imperative for the conglomerate to encourage employees to adopt new and contemporary methods of working that improve their quality of life, productivity and also optimize the group companies’ operating expenses. “Empowering employees by giving them a choice to work remotely from home or another location for a significant number of days in a month, will enhance employee efficiency and business output,” it said in the note.
S ‘Venky’ Venkatesh, president group HR, and member, group management board, RPG Enterprises, said: “We have seen that employee productivity has only increased during the past few months, and our early investments in building digital capabilities has given us the confidence to roll out this path breaking policy for perpetuity. What is noteworthy and unique is this policy is industry-agnostic and covers employees in all our group companies in all geographies around the world, including CEOs and senior leadership. We would be the first diversified conglomerate to effect such a far reaching policy as a long term option beyond the Covid-19 phase.”
The lockdown period helped the group comprehend the benefits of remote working. To operationalize WFH, it set up a task-force comprising a young team which directly presented its recommendations to the group management board. The board then set up a sub-committee to take it forward and frame a policy.
Venkatesh said the policy looks at remote working as a long-term and on-going new normal, even in the post-Covid world. “Today, due to Covid, all our offices are anyway 100% closed, but our factories/project sites/plantations are working. We have categorized employees into four groups by the nature of their work and basis that it would be decided who can work remotely and to what extent. A security officer, for instance, will need to be present at the office premises. An employee at the shop floor will need to be present at the factory. In case of Zensar Technologies, the business model is such that everybody can work from home. Exceptions in IT will be those who need to work from SEZ/client locations or mandated by contractual obligations with clients to work from company locations,” said Venkatesh.
Until now, the group’s policy allowed only office-based employees to work from anywhere up to a few days in a month. The new policy has expanded the scope across our manufacturing and plantations locations.
The new policy will help the group rationalise its office real estate space and enable hot desking.
The move could trigger a similar thinking among other large conglomerates and groups. In India, CavinKare shut down its corporate office and moved to a WFH platform in June. Globally, Twitter allowed employees to choose to WFH as long as they wished to, while Facebook and Google have extended the flexibility to their employees to work remotely.