Aug. 21, 2020 /THE TECH PANDA/ – By Navanwita Bora Sachdev
Since the beginning of the lockdown, CIOs and CTOs have been striving to provide extended support to their teams to meet client demands. They have had to make rapid changes to orchestrate the sudden switch to the remote working mode of employees, accelerate digital transformation to serve customers better, and strengthen the IT infrastructure of their organisation.
Now, as organisations resume operations, it is of paramount importance to ensure the safety and wellness of their employees. The post-COVID-19 world poses a huge responsibility on the shoulders of CIO’s, CTO’s, human resource (HR), facilities, IT, and leadership teams.
Symphony SummitAI, a cloud-based, Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled service management solutions provider, has unveiled the Safe Workplace Enabler Suite solutions to help clients offer safe workplaces to employees. The product aims to help organisations keep track of employee health records, their health screenings, and inventory management like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits across floors and locations.
The suite also dashboards for leadership to view the status across locations and helps draw insights from the survey results, helping employers take appropriate decisions and actions. It includes service management tools powered by the latest advances in AI, machine reasoning, analytics, and automation.
The Tech Panda spoke to Satyen Vyas, CEO of Symphony SummitAI, about how the Safe Workplace Enabler Suite is helping organisations get back to office safely.
“When organisations decide to restart their operations, they must have a clear plan to do so safely. Organisations can facilitate a safer environment by leveraging the right technology and tools.
The Suite helps ensure safe workplace in the post COVID world,” he says.
Challenges Organisations Face as Offices Reopen
As per LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, about one in three professionals in India under the age of 40 are keen to continue working remotely until they feel safer around people. The findings show that perceptions vary among professionals from different age groups. Senior workers aged 40 and above are seemingly keener to return to the workplace, with 38% of the Gen X (40-54 years old) cohort willing to return. For baby boomers (55+), the share was 29%. Less than one-fourth of millennials, meanwhile, would willingly want to get back to their offices.
There are several concerns that employees are voicing as offices are reopening, says Vyas.
“Concerns about returning to work place ranged from large gatherings for meetings and concerns around workplace sanitisation to even lack of support from employers in terms of sick leave and remote work policies. Commuting to work is a concern for over two in five millennials (42%), while nearly half of them are anxious about eating or resting in shared spaces,” he says.
The World Health Organisation has suggested some guidelines that organisations have to follow for ensuring safe workplaces.
Pre-entry: Processes/guidelines that need to be followed before we invite employees to get back to work, like rolling out an employee survey to understand wellness and morale readiness of employees to get back to work, and how they travel to work, etc.
At Work: The various administrative controls the organisation should plan at workplaces, like reducing the density of workplace, social distancing, PPE inventory management, etc.
Post-infection: Guidelines that need to be followed if there’s an infection at workplace, like disinfection, contact tracing, controlling employee panic, etc.
“Workplaces can’t afford to stay locked forever. Not all industries have the luxury of working from home. Sectors like manufacturing, retail, healthcare, etc., have opened up shop floors, setting the wheels of the economy in motion once again. Although employees have commenced working from offices and shop floors, the fear of contracting the virus still looms large,” says Vyas.
The management problem is whether and how to reopen businesses, given that workplace spread of the virus remains a real threat. Vyas says that the real management problem is caused by an information gap.
“We don’t know who has the virus (infectious), who had it (immune), and who has never had it (susceptible). If we had that information, there would be no economic crisis. We would simply require infectious people to quarantine while the vast majority who are healthy go about life as usual,” he explains.
“In other words, not having that information is costing us, by one estimate, $375 billion a month globally (According to an IMF article, The Great Lockdown: Worst Economic Downturn since the Great Depression). In the absence of that information, beginning economic recovery requires us to solve the management problem,” he adds.
This is where the Safe Workplace Enabler Suite steps in to help.
Advantages of the Suite
The Suite offers immense benefits for employees, HR, CIO, leadership teams, facilities team, Emergency Response Teams (ERT), to name a few. For employees, the suite makes possible self-check-in to office, report travel history, view emergency contacts, request for work from home, etc.
For the facilities, HR, or ERT, the suite provides a view into disinfectant service providers by locations, manage vendor or guest appointments with systematic screening, workforce management, and a host of other benefits.
For the CFOs and Leadership team, the suite is an enabler of digital transformation across functions. Leaders gain access to a single-view dashboard through which they gain insights and intelligence to make quick and accurate decisions regarding the health and safety of employees and customers alike.
The suite leverages AI capabilities and covers more than 15 use cases. The suite can help address most of the challenges an organisation can possibly face from contact tracing to self-diagnosis tests to automating PPE inventory management and AI-powered digital agent, providing 24X7 support to employees. This solution is available on cloud or on-premise for three months, six months or 12 months and renewed for a longer period of time, depending on the requirement.