19th May, 2020
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We slept in one world and woke up in another – quite a true depiction of what unfolded in last few days.
It’s indeed a once in a lifetime situation which our generation is witnessing right now. Those who never thought that people can spend even a month staying without stepping outside, are now stuck (we’d say safe!) inside their homes, those who thought a remote work will never suit their line of work, are now closing meetings over tele conferencing and those who thought they could buy anything if they had money are now rationing their use of groceries.
Easily over a month now that many people who were earlier commuting to their offices, are now working from home – for protecting their own as well as, public health.
It was not an easy feat for most of the companies to manage such a mass-level shift to remote working overnight but then kudos to the amazing conviction of the corporate world, the transition seems to be working just fine.
Adaptation is one of the key traits of humankind and this shift can also be attributed to this wonderful quality. So, let’s look at all the nuances of this new situation along with the contributors who are behind making this happen – one of the largest-ever shift to remote working setup.
Connection is critical in the new world
Mobile, collaborative and dynamic – few of the attributes which were earlier part of the visionary speeches around the future of workforce, now defines the present state of employees across the globe – almost in entirety.
When staying connected is the top priority in the current situation, many companies who have offerings in the domain of anytime-anywhere connectivity, are helping other organisations to make a smoother shift.
Some examples include Microsoft’s Team and Office 365 offering where the company is providing free of cost usage license for up to 6 months; then there are tools like Cisco’s Webex, Zoom, Blue Jeans etc. which are supporting people to stay connected via tele-conferencing.
There has also been an exponential surge in the usage of digital tools like Google Hangouts and Slack which is helping employees to stay virtually connected to their office mates or even to the clients.
Many training sessions are also now happening remotely with the help of these tools – both internal as well as external. These virtual training sessions are helping companies minimise their cost while continuing to sustain and even maximise their reach.
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Professionals have also started leveraging applications such as Asana and Monday for their workflow management since they are working in physical silos now.
Keeping a check on workforce pulse
This new routine is unfamiliar for not just the employers but for the employees as well. While social distancing is the only preventive measure which one can (and should) do at the moment, there is no denying to the fact that the world has suddenly become very lonely for most of the people. There are numerous distractions at home-front, but people do miss their ‘beyond-home’ schedule involving office-mates.
All these factors are bound to impact their mood, productivity and overall mental health, to a certain extent. Being well-aware of such scenarios, many companies are leveraging workforce pulse management solutions to keep a check on their employees’ holistic well-being.
Companies such as Qualtrics, have even made its remote workforce management product portfolio freely available for all in the wake of Covid19 crisis.
Not everything is simple
The large-scale shift towards work-from-home has not just increased reliance over these digital connectivity tools but has also amplified the security risks owing to the mostly unmonitored and unsecured Wi-Fi connections which is common at home-fronts.
The risk looms even greater in case of mobile device usage which comprises a large chunk of the pie.
Many security vendors have risen to the occasion and are providing their services free of cost, to companies and individuals for a stipulated period of time.
Companies like RSA providing multi-factor authentication, Vectra detecting account takeovers for Microsoft Office 365, Untangle supporting companies as well as individuals in making a secure WFH transition, NETSCOUT providing DDOS attack analysis and the list goes on for the security providers who have opened their product portfolios for free leverage by companies.
Here’s the caveat
While the list of organisations which are offering free products and services to the companies in view of the current crisis situation, is growing larger every day, there’s a subtle asterix also which marks these contributions.
Addressing the most pertinent need of businesses at this hour, these providers are able to make easy inroads to their target audience. Also, the timely apt gesture is also helping them create a bond of trust and reliance with their customers. It also allows them a god-enough time window to get accustomed to the product.
Majority of these free provisions are extended free trials, thus, giving these vendors a brilliant opportunity for upsell and cross-sell once the situation starts normalising. With the increased trust quotient and the ‘used to’ factor, the probability of conversion increases by manifolds.
In short, it’s a win-win situation for both, the user as well as the provider.
Future – It shall become the new regular
With erstwhile popular notions that remote working is quite ineffective, the companies who were earlier apprehensive of flexible working culture, they are now forced to adopt digital transformation in order to ensure business continuity.
As companies struggle to adjust into this new-normal, it is becoming clearer that this new way of working is here to stay.
While there is nothing which can replace ‘human connection’ and the sense of belongingness which comes from the same, brands are trying their hardest to replicate it to the maximum possible extent.
Organisations which’re prioritising people over profits are going to emerge stronger once these gloomy times settle down. Ultimately, scaling up can take a backseat for some time while the sustenance instinct kicks in – that’s the mantra which is helping companies sail through these trying times and it will continue to do so.