Originated in China, the pandemic Coronavirus has infected almost 140,000+ people. The economic impact of this Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has left organizations counting costs in all parts of the world. The virus has so far affected industries like manufacturing, aviation, tourism and export sectors — notably medicine, electronics, textiles, chemicals, automotive & smartphones.
Companies overseas always have had a remote working model. Hence it has not been difficult for them to implement the same in order to stop/prevent the spread of Coronavirus amongst its employees. In India, where the count has now reached 275 with 4 deaths. Companies belonging to India do not have the provision of “Work from Home” or are strategically prepared to do the same.
Companies in India like Flipkart, Zerodha, WIPL, etc. have already started taking this initiative forward.
The challenge for the rest of the companies here is how to take this “work from home” idea ahead. The main concern is how to do the kind of planning required and measures to take in order to ensure effective implementation.
Before moving forward, it’s important to understand that not every company can execute the idea of Work from Home amid Coronavirus. Let’s consider manufacturing. Since the machinery and equipment cannot be moved at home hence for them this idea won’t be possible. But it’s very much possible for companies that are into Business Consulting, Information Technology, Professional Services, etc.
This is how companies in India should plan & execute “Work from Home’, as a precautionary and emergency measure to safeguard themselves from the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
1. Define the work areas
Ensure defining the important/crucial work areas which are key to your organizations’ overall productivity.
2. Segregate the work – department-wise
Your team leads should be your primary point of contact for smooth coordination and proactive monitoring. Ensure collaborating with the team leads to set departmental goals marking specific key roles measurable for each individual in their respective team.
3. Set Measurable tasks/goals
Assessing a team’s progress at each step becomes a challenge, if the goals are not aligned with accountability and are not measurable; for each team member. Make sure each task in your task list has a team member accountable for it along with a deadline or SLA to be monitored on a daily/hourly basis.
4. Ensuring Data & Network Security.
Remote workers should have a secured Wi-Fi network and work with a trusted virtual private network (VPN). Many companies in India have implemented firewalls like Cyberoam, etc to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Since now the employees are working remotely, a trusted VPN connection becomes a must to ensure safety and continuity of the work.
1. Integrating Cloud Platforms for seamless accessibility
In India, many business houses store their data at a local level which means each employee has his data stored at his workstation. With Cloud storage tools like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, you can easily upload all your files and folders on Drive making it accessible from a remote location or from Home amid Coronavirus
With G Suite & Office 365, you can even restrict the access and sharing of data outside your organization thus ensuring data privacy.
Many companies are using Outlook with POP which means all their emails get downloaded to their laptop or desktop making the email account accessible from that particular device only. In order to work remotely or work from home amid Coronavirus, these emails need to be stored on the Email server as well so that it is accessible and synchronises across your devices.
Email solutions like Gmail (G Suite), Outlook for Web (Microsoft Office 365), Cloud Mail, Right MX etc offers the stability, uptime, storage space to ensure that your mailing operations run smoothly.
Some of the widely used applications or ERP in India include SAP, Tally, Busy, etc. Do you think it’s possible to access this software from any device or location through a secured medium? Yes, it’s possible. All you need is a Cloud/ Server to host the respective application and get it accessible from anywhere.
At WIPL, we can help you migrate and host your Tally/SAP or any other ERP on any of our Cloud Platforms like AWS, Azure, etc.
2. Moving the Workload from Office to Home.
Once you have defined the work areas and segregated them, it is time for some real action. The challenge now is how to work or use the same applications while you are at home or any remote location.
For example, at WIPL, we have support landline numbers. Using the cloud telephony service, we have diverted the calls to the team’s personal number which also gets recorded and tracked.
Now depending upon the industry which you belong to, you have to work accordingly and choose the right tools. For example, A Business Consulting firm can use G Suite Meets or Microsoft Teams, which are video conferencing tools, in order to do online face to face meetings and interactions with their clients.
3. Regular Meetings/Training with your team members.
It’s very important for the managers to be in constant touch with their team. This motivates the employees to continue working even when they feel lazy and at the same time understand if they are facing any challenges.
If there is training or department meetings to be done, schedule it with your employees by using Google Calendars. Through it, you can send invites to the respective employees, state the agendas and add a video conferencing option as well. Away from office but close to your team amid Coronavirus.
4. Supervision on Employees working remotely.
As discussed in the previous point, if you feel that there is a need to supervise constantly on your employees, you can integrate various remote employee monitoring software like ActiveCollab, TimeDoctor or maybe any simple video calling tool or a messaging tool like Hangouts will also work to ensure the same. Please communicate to the team that these tools are implemented in order to ensure work productivity and not to spy on them.
5. End of Day Report Summary
Work from home does not mean that you are free to do anything and miss your KRAs and deadlines.
A manager should ensure that they receive proper work reports for the tasks that were assigned to the employees by the day end. This would facilitate the continuity and submission of deliverables even when your team is working remotely or at home amid Coronavirus.
6. A Note of Confidence to the Customers
You can send a mail to your clients, the way companies like Google, Flipkart, etc have notified regarding work from home amid coronavirus outbreak. You should build confidence with your partners, vendors, and clients that you are committed to providing them with the best support possible during this uncertain time.
Key factors that will define the success of your “Work from Home” Initiative :
1. Testing the Program before launching it.
It is vital to test the program, the applications, VPN, etc after the implementation and training of employees is done. Test multiple time to ensure that the operations would work in a way they work at office premises. This inhibits confidence in the team as well as your customers.
2. Trust your employees
Most importantly the managers need to have trust in your employees to get the jobs done. It can be hard sometimes to trust them with the data. But if it is the need of the hour, then this ought to be done to ensure business continuity. Proper tools are always there to help and protect.
Tools that can help you run your business remotely.
G Suite by Google
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Microsoft Office 365
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Take your Tally on Cloud
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