Redesigning the Workplace in the Path to the New Normal

Aditya has an enterprising career span of 23+ years, and has demonstrated commercial, operational and service delivery excellence across global captive and third party BPOs.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business continuity planning of corporate India was challenged with the sudden announcement of a national lockdown. Despite the government gradually lifting lockdown restrictions, companies have been forced to reconsider how work gets done under unfamiliar circumstances. To revive the economy and ensure business continuity, companies across all sectors will have to redesign workplace structures, do a reset on the organisation policies, and possibly even challenge the core of the culture to embrace the ‘new normal’.

Changing Working Habits of Employees
COVID-19 has quickly become a global business disruptor, forcing companies to make the unprecedented transition to remote working, and at the same time potentially creating a permanent shift in working habits. With over half the IT workforce in India now delivering services remotely, companies will have to go above and beyond to meet their high expectations, in order to retain a loyal and trusted workforce.

Employee safety and workplace hygiene are also at the top of the corporate agenda, and companies will have to implement rigorous internal policies that withstand this era of social distancing. The workforce, as well as external clients, are depending more on partnership and support than ever before, therefore senior team members should be fully engaged in real-time communications to settle any anxieties and concerns. Digital solutions, such as voice and chatbots, and alternative delivery plans can be leveraged to alleviate stress from employees, whilst continuing to deliver consistent

customer experiences – no matter the circumstances.
As businesses gradually reopen, a blended model of office-based and remote working will provide companies the ability to operate in a more seamless, yet safe manner. This strategy facilitates the necessary level of agility to continue operations as normal as possible, whilst adhering to each employee’s needs or preferences in their working style. Building this level of trust will be crucial in minimising future business disruption.

As businesses gradually reopen, a blended model of office-based and remote working will provide companies the ability to operate in a more seamless, yet safe manner

Fast-Tracking Digital Transformation
The fast-pace changes taking place in the market has resulted in a surge in the strategic value of automation technologies, placing pressure on companies to accelerate their pre-existing rate of digital transformation and keep employees satisfied. Global spending in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation technologies is now set to escalate across sectors, due to social distancing compliance needs in response to COVID-19, and is estimated to exceed $50.7 billion this year – up 32 percent from 2019.

Those businesses that have implemented some degree of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into their ecosystem already, will be in a prime position to weather this disruption. When it comes to triaging work intake, these agile companies will be able to programme a bot to mimic highly repetitive administrative tasks, which usually require human activity or attention. Once configured, the digital bot can complete tasks over and over again with very little risk, and a very low error rate, helping businesses get necessary work done in low-staffed scenarios, whilst empowering human agents with higher-value work.

Implementation of long-term work-at-home solutions, digital assets, and alternative client delivery plans, to respond to crisis contingencies with speed and agility is the need of the hour.

Cloud Shoring is the Key for Business Continuity
During the outbreak and beyond, working environments have been redefined to rely more heavily on virtual teams and remote resources. Many companies have adopted Cloud Shoring for seamless operations to deliver exceptional customer experiences with remote, socially connected teams around the globe. It also centralises and ensures consistent recruiting, training, and guidance while driving efficiencies for clients.

To keep geographically dispersed teams connected, and to maintain real time collaboration between clients and the workforce, companies should look to implement Cloud Shoring technologies into their redesigned business model. The cloud enables fast file and document sharing, allowing employees to coordinate on projects from one virtual platform. By transitioning operations to centralised command centres, companies can sustain the same levels of productivity as office-based teams – minimising future business disruption. Investment in automation technologies has therefore become imperative in building a resilient and flexible business model.

As organisations become more reliant on digital infrastructures, gateways for cyber criminals are becoming more accessible. Since IT teams and agents became geographically dispersed, hackers have been able to target vulnerabilities in remote networks, exploiting the crisis to attain company and customer data. This is now a major concern across businesses, with 63 per cent of business leaders now actively involved in cybersecurity strategy discussions.
To minimise the possibilities of intelligence being leaked, companies should avoid having highly sensitive data stored on remote devices, where possible. As a solution, cloud shoring should be implemented to ensure sensitive data is not stored locally and remains secure within remote environments.

The Future of the Workplace
In the hope that the economy can be reignited, deploying a hybrid model of home-based and on-site employees will provide businesses an anchor, now and long after the crisis. Mitigating risk and accommodating changing employee needs, this combination approach will put companies in good stead to deal with future contingencies – if COVID-19 has proven anything, it is that no company can ever be too prepared.