Ensuring Business Continuity and Remote Work Culture During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Remote working or Working from Home (WFH) is nothing new to the corporate world. Thanks to the internet and the influence of the western world, the Indian white-collared workers have over a period of time tried remote working with some degree of success.
However, currently, we are witnessing a scenario where the entire workforce has been forced to work remotely, owing to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. India definitely was not equipped for this tectonic shift and the sudden lockdown and its unforeseen nature threw many of the companies, large and small out of gear – Each one fending for themselves by invoking what they call a Business Continuity Plan, learning for others, and getting their workforce remote-ready at the earliest. Laptops were procured/rented where possible. Where employees had their own devices, such devices were quickly made to conform to DLP requirements as per the BYOD policy. Dongles were provided to folks who did not have connectivity. UPS were given to folks working out of areas that experience frequent power outages. Preference was given to employees who were “key critical resources” for the project whose online presence was indispensable.
While all these have, no doubt, helped in taking care of the infrastructure needs, there are several other factors that the organization has to consider – employee engagement, teamwork, productivity, and above all employee morale.
From an employee’s standpoint, they have to cope up with the “new way of working” while taking care of themselves and their near and dear ones – Ensuring their safety and well-being during the pandemic outbreak and providing for the day to day needs of the elderly and the dependent family members.
HRBPs have the onerous task of coordinating and keeping the employee morale up. Only true empathy and a caring attitude can help in this regard.
On the other hand, business owners and operational leaders have to find new ways of managing their teams during this crisis. As always, they will be judged by their customer satisfaction, and achieving service levels and KPIs will continue to be of paramount importance. This means that they should be able to communicate with their team members, set and review goals, manage other stakeholders like the shared services and the customers no less effectively than in the past, while working from the office environment.
Technology can play a key role in solving some of these problems. While SaaS players like Zoom (notwithstanding the security glitches) and Google Hangout have solutions that are tailor-made for such situations, we at MTAP Technologies have put together customized solutions, by leveraging location-based services to suit the specific needs of organizations in the current situation.
Extending the features of our Employee Transport Automation Software, we are able to help companies in pinpointing the exact location of each of their remote employees using the geocodes (lat/longs). Operations managers can now track the location of their employees (see figure below) and be alerted if they move away from the location (beyond an allowable threshold distance).
What more, they can know how vulnerable their team members are, depending on their proximity to the Covid-19 hot-spots (see fig below) in different cities and towns. Based on this, they can alert the employee to exercise extra caution or help by providing an alternate temporary accommodation that is relatively safe for the employee, where possible.
An added advantage of the software would be identifying how much time the employee has spent at the workstation. This would be critical in cases where customer billing is a function of resource availability and, in turn, productivity.