Packaged consumer goods firm Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has directed its 4,000 office-based employees in India to work from home, starting Tuesday, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
“All office-based employees globally should work from home,” Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever said on Friday. The information was uploaded on Unilever’s global website as the company, in the wake of the rise in Covid-19 cases, announced action for all employees, including its research and development staff, sales team and those who work at its corporate sites.
It also imposed restrictions on official travel and large official meetings. “Any air travel which is currently booked, apart from return-bound flights, will be cancelled centrally by our travel booking partners,” the company said.
It has also advised employees suffering from related symptoms to not enter any of its global sites or work locations. It has also imposed restrictions on meetings or conferences of more than 20 people. Unilever has advised employees experiencing flu-like symptoms to go for self-isolation for 14 days.
An HUL spokesperson said production at its factories will continue, especially at a time when it is trying to meet demand for personal hygiene products.
“At an unprecedented time like this there is a heightened need for products that help to prevent the spread of germs. The daily necessity products such as soaps, sanitisers, floor cleaners, detergents, toilet cleaners, etc is the need of the hour. Therefore, our factories will continue to function in accordance with the guidelines and elevated safety and hygiene protocols,” the spokesperson said.
HUL has 18,000 employees in India, according to a news report by The Times of India. For now, 4000 employees or those who are office-based employees have been directed to work from home, the news report added.
For its field sales employees, Unilever has advised them to connect with customers “virtually wherever possible and minimise the use of public transport if a customer visit is necessary”.
HUL joins a growing list of companies that are stepping up measures to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus by asking employees to work from home, and restrict official travel.