Back-to-work India Inc arms itself with Covid apps, Retail News, ET Retail

Back-to-work India Inc arms itself with Covid appsNEW DELHI | MUMBAI | BENGALURU: Call it Aarogya Setu Inc. As India’s biggest companies return to working from office, they are arming themselves with in-house apps modelled on the broad idea of the government’s Aarogya Setu app – self-declaration on health and contacts.

Among companies that have launched such apps are Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Reliance Industries, Capgemini, Philips India, Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Cipla, and HCL Tech. In many cases, daily updates are mandatory for employees.

These corporate apps aren’t linked to any external database and don’t deploy location identification software. They, therefore, don’t perform independent contract tracing or location tracking functions of employees when they are not in office.

The Aarogya Setu app is already a mandatory download for all company employees, with responsibility for ensuring this resting on employers. Employers themselves are going a step farther.

For its 150,000 employees, HCL Technologies has introduced a mandatory self-assessment platform. It’s a daily digital task for employees, says Apparao VV, chief human resource officer, HCL Technologies, adding “it is something like Aarogya Setu app, but we ask them to update it daily”.

Hindustan Unilever’s ‘HUL COVID-19 Preparedness’, app went live on March 20, just three days after the company initiated its work from home. Most employees have accessed it and are regularly updating their status, said an HUL spokesperson.

Keeping a Watch
Reliance Industries has deployed the MyJio app for employees of Reliance Industries and their families. “It is a self-diagnostic tool for people to check if they are showing Covid symptoms and whether they need to visit a health centre. It lists the nearest testing centre authorised by Indian Council of Medical Research. HR monitors the employee responses on a daily basis,” a Reliance spokesperson told ET.

Technology major Capgemini has a self-declaration application called ‘Namaste Capgemini’. Auto majors Maruti Suzuki and Hero Motors have ‘Wellness Mitra’ and ‘Hero HOPE’, respectively. As its Gurgaon offices resumed work on Wednesday, Philips India put to work its in-house app for employee self-declaration. “All employees who will come to the office need to give details about their health condition before entering the office premises,” said Daniel Mazon, vice chairman and managing director, Philips Indian Subcontinent.

Venkat Neelakantan, VP and head, corporate real estate services, India and APAC, Capgemini, said: “The app is to ensure only a pre-defined number of employees are allowed access to office premises, as per our phased approach to return to office and in line with the government guidelines.”

At Maruti Suzuki, more than 34,000 employees, including apprentices, are using Wellness Mitra app. The company has developed a similar app for dealer and vendor partners to cover the entire value chain. Quick links to download Aarogya Setu come embedded in the Wellness Mitra app, said Rajesh Uppal, member, executive board (HR, IT and Safety), Maruti Suzuki.

Hero MotoCorp has two apps. It has directed employees to mandatorily declare health information through the Hero Employee app prior to resuming work. A new app Hero HOPE – HOPE stands for “Hero’s Operation for Pandemic Elimination” – allows the company to know an employee’s contacts with other employees in office, said Vijay Sethi, chief HR officer and head (information systems).

Sharmistha Mukherjee, Prachi Verma Dadhwal, Himanshi Lohchab, Sagar Malviya and Surabhi Agarwal reported for this story.



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