Aman Malhotra, RBL Bank

Aman Malhotra, RBL Bank

The Covid-19 lockdown is an unprecedented event, which no one could have prepared for, but as the situation unfolded, the response time was quick. Everyone took stock of the situation, understood the seriousness of the pandemic, planned accordingly, and took swift action.

For the team at RBL Bank, the safety of their employees and customers was of paramount importance; and considering that as the centrepiece, all the steps were planned to ensure minimum disruption to the businesses.
For many who would have never imagined the possibility of work from home, it became a reality. Safety equipment like sanitizers, thermometers, masks, gloves etc. were made available in no time for people operating from branches and bank offices.
A touch-free environment became a priority.
While the fact remains that the situation is still uncertain and we wouldn’t know how long it will continue, the above measures certainly ensured safety and immensely helped the Bank to run its operations seamlessly.

It’s evident that 100% transition back to the office is a distant dream for now. Work from home will continue across many job profiles and locations. While many private offices are operating with 10% of staff, any increase in strength will depend on the capacity to ensure regular hygiene checks and social distancing.

For the partial transition, effective communication with employees will play a very important role, they need to be given the confidence that they are stepping into a safe environment. Simple actions like washing hands, performing regular temperature checks, wearing a mask, using a sanitizer, etc. needs to become a norm.

At RBL Bank, the FM team has shared a detailed handbook with their employees on how to follow safe practices and ensure that everyone around them also does the same. Transportation has also been organised in many cases where personal travel option is not available.

Organisations are going all out to ensure a safe and secure working environment for those who are required to be in the office. Regular sanitization and deep cleaning frequency were increased for all offices, temperature and oxygen level checks, download and usage of Aarogya Setu, availability of sanitizer and its usage are mandatory for each and every employee entering the office.  Wherever possible, RBL has also aimed to create a touch-free environment by installing foot paddles for doors, water dispensers, hand sanitizer, and so on.

Besides, increasing the frequency of AC temperature checks, the FM team also increased their checks of the humidity levels, filter cleaning, fresh air inlets, etc. to ensure safe air circulation in offices.
Considering work from home is the need of the hour, making it convenient and effective is the focus for all innovations, which involves developing a lighter version of each application so that it can be used easily from the comfort of one’s home, while simultaneously strengthening the privacy and security aspects.

The use of virtual meeting platforms have also increased. Further, to manage physical distancing and related occupancy challenges RBL has developed an in-house app called ‘Book My Space’, this allows users to book a seat at the office and enables the HR and Administrative teams to restrict the numbers to the maximum occupancy required. This has helped them immensely to control the numbers allowed in the office and implement the rules laid by the local authorities in respective cities.

The impact and learnings from the Covid-19 situation are here to stay for a long time; work from home to some extent would become the new normal. While it may vary from industry to industry, for example, the production-related industry will require people to report to work, while those in the IT service industry can continue with WFH for longer or even increase their capacity of working from home.

This situation does bring in the opportunity to save cost as need of seats; real estate foot print of organisation would reduce, resulting in lower operational expenditure.

From a business expansion point of view, while rentals may reduce considering the increase in availability of space, but the availability of labour would be a challenge for some time.

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