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COVID-19 Pandemic: Remote Collaboration and Bracing for the New Normal

COVID-19 Pandemic: Remote Collaboration and Bracing for the New Normal
May 25, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a global upheaval like never before. Millions have been affected and thousands have lost their lives and livelihoods. In this situation, governments and regulatory bodies across the world have been forced to impose partial or complete lockdowns. As a result, enterprises are finding themselves in a difficult scenario as the supply chains have broken down. Due to the lockdown, factory floors and offices are out of bound to most and workforces must work from home.

While companies have invested heavily in digital transformation initiatives, the pandemic happened too suddenly for most. Preparedness for disruption of this scale was found wanting and many enterprises are finding it difficult to maintain business continuity through work from home. The need for physical distancing has turned employees homeward, and various challenges are arising from this sudden transition to the remote operations model. Connectivity and seamless processes are imperative for work from home and remote operations, but not all enterprises were prepared for it.

Remote Working IT Challenges

This sudden shift to work from home and/or remote working has caused some obvious pain points from an IT standpoint especially from a collaboration perspective. Due to a lack of preparedness, most companies are finding it difficult to transition seamlessly to an environment in which the employees can communicate with each other while working from home. To begin with, lack of clear communication between company leadership and their employees is having a telling effect on connectivity & productivity. As this disruption came too suddenly, some glaring loopholes in business continuity plans are plaguing companies across industries. The collaboration strategy still depends on reactive methodologies and not proactive ones. Organizations are therefore finding themselves playing catch up in this difficult situation.

Cloud based Collaborative communication tools are also lacking in number and outreach. These tools play a very important role in enabling remote connectivity, but unfortunately, due to lack of preparedness and robust contingency plans, most organizations are finding it exceedingly difficult to get the desired outcome from the remote working model. Also compounding the issue is a lack of contoured business continuity plans that factor the generational gap in the workforce. Due to varied age groups, not everyone is as comfortable with and receptive of new-age tech tools. There is wide disparity of solutions stack and digital tools that are being used, and varied levels of digital literacy is making it very difficult for organizations to bring everyone on the same page. Finally, due to all these factors and unprecedented nature of remote working, workforces are finding it difficult to stay connected to one another, stay motivated and function at optimal levels. As a result, overall productivity is compromised.

Remote Collaboration solutions and Specialized Services

As organizations struggle with the migration to remote working models, IT specialists, such as HCL’s Digital Workplace unit, stand to play a crucial role. One of the key value propositions for the digital workplace is provisioning remote collaboration tools on cloud. An in-depth analysis of existing tools, processes, and platforms is the first step. Assessing the technology present in the organization environment will paint a clearer picture of which of those can leveraged for the purposes of remote working in the present scenario. Depending on the current tools that can be used, it has to be decided which emergent technologies and solutions stack can be utilized for best integration and collaboration.

Ideally, a one-stop, cloud-based collaboration solution is best suited for seamless communication over siloed audiovisual tools, instant messages, group emails, and file sharing. These cloud-based capabilities can also enable virtual whiteboards and facilitate smart huddles and meeting rooms which can have a positive impact on productivity. The simplicity of the process is not only easy to adopt but it also results in elevated experience and outcome. Furthermore, Digital Workplace is capable of custom-building applications, bots, and workflows within these collaboration tools and integrating the solution with the desk and mobile phones of the employees, so that communication is also possible without internet connectivity. 

Another key value addition of our solutions is that we provision a tool-based “collaboration” index, which is pivotal to evaluating real-time user experience. This further helps in devising adoption and management strategies that are best suited to the users. We also assist first time users and early adopters with in-app guidance, based on user journey, experience, and feedback. This is a proactive approach to personalizing features for users on the basis of their data.

Digital Workplace is continually striving to offer quality excellence with quick deployment times. From basic features, such as instant messaging and meetings to more complex offerings such as Enterprise Voice integrations, applications, and provisioning of “Home Offices”, you can rely on our expertise and promise of finesse. At this trying time of global disruption, we stand firm in our resolve to provide only the very best to our clients and see them seamlessly transition to the new normal of remote operations.