The COVID-19 crisis seemingly took business and IT leaders by surprise with its speed and scale. Very few organizations were prepared for the unprecedented government action related to travel restrictions and mandates to have employees work from home. While remote access has been available for decades now, the concept of a company’s entire workforce working remotely has forced IT organizations to rethink the meaning of remote access, collaboration and security.
Brillio is among many companies that had to respond to this dynamic challenge in real time, using an adaptive approach to a “never before” scenario. We rewrote our business continuity and crisis management playbook and within one-week, we deployed a virtual workforce program that enabled every one of our global employees to work from home, with little to no disruption to our business operations. As part of our Business Continuity Planning (BCP), we anticipated the possibility of the Government of India announcing a country-wide lockdown, beginning March 25th. As a result 100% of Brillio’s employees in India have already been working remotely (‘WFH’) since March 23rd.
Using existing infrastructure, technology platforms and operational polices, we reimagined our remote access capabilities to address the near-term challenge in a manner that is scalable for the long-term. By leveraging our existing capabilities, applied through a new crisis management framework, we were able to rapidly adapt to the new reality. Key lessons learned from our real-time experience include:
Lack of or too many collaboration tools and limited training on how employees should operate effectively in a work from home scenario.
No policies or procedures on how to maintain productivity at scale of a remote workforce, once basic connectivity is established and collaboration tools were deployed.
Limited pressure testing of cybersecurity and infrastructure resiliency frameworks to support the volume and scale of a remote workforce.
Little focus on human factors and ergonomics related to health and welfare of employees working by themselves, in remote locations, for extended hours – and how to minimize fatigue, and repetitive motion injuries.
No organization guidance on maintaining social connections between employees via digital platforms to minimize loneliness and feelings of despair during a crisis.
COVID-19 may fundamentally challenge our current notions of the global economy, organizational culture, employee experience, HR & IT policies and how employers engage with their workforce. While in the short-term, remaining focused, calm and human centric should guide most organizations through the new normal, in the long-term, the lessons learned from this temporary crisis may present an opportunity for organizations to create a more resilient workforce, with a focus on employee health and well-being enabled through a new perspective on the digital workplace.