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Companies wary of bringing 33% staff back to offices

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Companies wary of consequences of even one employee getting infected; many expect resumption only after lockdown

White-collar workplaces that had emptied out during the first two phases of the lockdown mostly stayed empty on Monday, even though the government’s rules for lockdown extension permitted offices to host one-third of staff strength.

Nearly two dozen leading companies that ET spoke to said employee safety and risk management were their top priority. Concerns that even one employee testing positive may have big negative impact on the office were also on their mind.

Deloitte, ITCHULAmazon, KPMG, EY, McKinsey & Co, BCG, Bain & Co, Pfizer, Citi, RPG Group and Welspun Group, among others, said they were in a wait-and-watch mode.

“We will be very careful about coming back to work. One bad incident can throw us back by a 100 days,” said SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte India. The decision has to be taken in consultations with the employees about how comfortable they are on returning to office and based on the assessment of how safe it is to call them back, he said.

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