Operation unlock India – a global perspective: Manjit Rajain, Global Chairman, Tenon Group of Companies

Countries like Singapore and UK have opened up their businesses and public places and are adapting to the “New Normal” situation where precautions and being vigilant is the key approach adopted writes Manjit Rajain.


Today, everyone in this world is faced with an unprecedented situation on which even expert alerts & advisories could not give definitive clarity. All we can do to stop the spread or control of the pandemic is be circumspect at all times. From touching a surface to sitting next to a person, we must be mindful and preventive.

The impact of the past few months, where most countries have been under strict lockdown to try and curb the spreading of- COVID-19 has hit the economy hard. The pressure on the government to support revival with relief is immense. Therefore, it has become inevitable and prudent to lift the lockdown to curb the economic downturn, with a set of strict measures within which the economy drivers could operate without compromising with the health of their workers.

With the easing of restrictions during the fourth phase of the Covid lockdown in India, businesses are aggressively working on pandemic preparedness plans whereas employees are justifiably worried about their health & safety at the workplace.

Many countries like Singapore and UK have opened up their businesses and public places and are adapting to the “New Normal” situation where precautions and being vigilant is the key approach adopted.

To adapt to this situation, it is essential and important to follow the protocols and be self-disciplined & regulated.

The Governments of Singapore and UK have taken proactive steps to curb the spreading of the virus. Both government and citizens are taking steps to adapt to the new normal by strictly following rules laid down by experts.

In UK, the businesses are now gradually opening up in all parts of the country in a phased manner as the peak of the pandemic in the country is assumed to be over. An average of 1000 cases are being reported every day for the last one month which is a sign of relief. Similarly, in Singapore, everyone who comes into the country are being quarantined for a mandatory 14 days at a government allocated quarantine facility. On the 10th day in quarantine they are tested for COVID. This procedure ensures community spread is controlled.

Similar to the Aarogya Setu App in India, Singapore authorities have rolled out the TraceTogether App to stop & track the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact tracing. It is connected to each building and office with a QR code which helps the government to trace any Covid patient in that premise or vicinity.

Tenon Group’s security arm Peregrine Singapore have segregated the working environment into 2 spaces and have designated entire back office payroll into multiple batches or groups. All groups have their pre-scheduled day to come to office and even when they are in office, they are seated in different locations in the office premises to practice complete social distancing. The thought process is to minimise exposure within the group itself during the week. Everyone has to wear a mask and a one metre distance has to be maintained at all given times.

Companies in UK & also Tenon FM UK have introduced a Risk Assessment addendum which covers the risks and controls associated with working on customers sites whilst having to deal with Covid -19 as part of our new normal, which may become a long-term situation. They have also introduced a rota for office-based staff which keep the numbers of people working in the same office to a minimum and will allow for easier tracking if any one of our staff become symptomatic. All operatives are been trained in working whist physical distancing measures are in place. Cleaning regimes have been implemented to ensure that high traffic touchpoints such as door handles, WC blocks and kitchenette areas have an increased cleaning regime introduced and is monitored.

Similarly, businesses in India will also need to adhere to a series of precautions before they can resume operations. This includes implementing a system of safe-management measures, including appointing in-house safe-management officers. They would also need to support contact-tracing requirements, as well as require as mandate for all on-site employees and visitors to wear masks. Most importantly, companies need to ensure not just a clean, but a highly sanitised workplace. They require a system to implement health checks and develop own protocols to manage potential cases and procedures to follow to mitigate the spread.

We need to create a central customer facing document with all their possible questions, answers and our recommendations based on the knowledge we have with all our varied customer base. One thing that the Singapore government has been extremely strict about was penalising the defaulters- be it locals or foreigners, they have to pay a fine or face severe charges for not adhering to the rules. This may sound difficult to implement here in India but can go a long way to fasten our recovery from the pandemic while restarting the economy as well.

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