The recent COVID-19 outbreak and its viral spread is keeping people behind their doors. With the compulsion of staying back at home, the organizations had no other option but to take their work home. This is a sensible decision taken at such times when the world economy is crumbling at the hand of this fatal virus. People need to continue to work to keep things going.
In fact, as per an India Today article, the Gurugram administration has revoked the sections of the Epidemic Disease Act 1897 which reads, "All MNCs, IT firms, industries, BPOs, corporate offices situated in district Gurugram are advised to allow their officer/employees to work from home till March 31, 2020, to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 in the larger public interest."
But how can the facilities and ease of operating from the office be brought back home? How are organizations going to manage the smooth functioning of all their teams? The question seems more legit and concerning especially for corporate giants and MNCs handling large teams.
That’s where the technology comes into play. Being at the office, tasks seem easier, meeting schedules are fixed, people meet each other face-to-face and discuss things, and meeting with clients carried projects forward. Now all these trivial availabilities seem a luxury. People cannot afford to step out and meet each other. So, the existing technologies which were not a part of regular routine for office goers have now become their primary go-to options for connecting with their colleagues, managers and clients. Let’s see how technology is helping the world reconnect to get their tasks done.
- Video Calls
The most popular technology right now. As per Microsoft, during quarantine, they observed a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day. All the video call apps are booming in this quarantine as this is the only way people stay connected with each other. Platforms that earlier were unknown to people have now become a significant part of the work-life.
The mails and meeting schedules have now turned to a simple video conferencing link. All daily meetings like stand-ups, scrums, one-on-one interaction for task collaboration, client meetings are happening over video calls. Employees can also share their screen with their colleagues to show and discuss their work. This is a great way to connect while seeing both the people and the work live in action, providing a richer experience.
- Communication Tools
Working from home means employees need to be in continuous touch with their teams for delivering consistent team output. This creates a requirement for some sort of platform where they can chat and share information all day long. There are a number of such communication tools available popularly being used which are useful in office spaces also for team communication.
These chat channels allow people to discuss work, brainstorm ideas and stay connected with each other. Such tools are eliminating the need to make calls for small discussions, saving significant time. Otherwise, the whole team would be in calls for most of their time.
- Task Management
One of the most important and critical tasks while working from home is keeping track of everyone’s work. Task management tools are very helpful to track and record each employee’s daily/monthly tasks. Tracking every step of a task help in evaluating what has been done so far and what needs to be done ahead, giving a target for the day and month, making the team’s vision clear. This helps the entire team to break down the task, see the project progress, status updates, assessing their contribution and achieve the deadline.
- Cloud Storage and Work Security
With the absence of the company’s internal servers, it gets difficult to share data within the team. Cloud storage helps organizations here. Constantly transferring files over the cloud provides easy and instant access for other employees. Working on the cloud eliminates the delay and waiting time for accessing and transferring files between the team members. It allows all the members to work simultaneously for task completion. According to a Forbes article, work from home culture may compel using hybrid cloud computing to regulate data processing and storage in a flexible on-demand manner.
Non-availability of servers also affects data security. Now it becomes more important to ensure that the files are safe and within the organization network. For that, a secure communication channel needs to be created through VPNs for safe transfer and archival of all data.
- Client Interaction
For marketing and sales teams, it is crucial to be in touch with their clients, or keep finding new prospects, especially in difficult times to keep the business running. CRM platforms become very useful then to make their lives easier. Handling multiple clients, keeping track of the progress of each conversation, getting new leads, and other such laborious tasks are taken care of through a CRM quite easily. The team can visualize each progress and communicate with the clients accordingly to generate hot leads. Also, tracking tasks assigned to different teams and multiple connections with the teams and the clients are a headache managed very well in CRM, especially when working remotely.
What’s the Future Like?
The growing success of work from home policy is paving the way for developments and advancements in various technologies. From high-end systems, website and software, productivity apps, to simple solutions that make working easier like a standing table, are now catching more attention.
A report generated by Cisco says that there is going to be a huge shift in the working environment. The future of workspaces will see more of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence making the environment compatible with working remotely. Virtual collaboration and communication tools will be more coherent and integrative. VR and AI will change the way of working to make real-time interaction, data transfer, and analytics much richer.
Everybody is hoping and waiting to get back to the office as soon as the pandemic is under control and start working as usual. But the new way of working has opened up the possibility of the inclusion of work from home culture. The way the technologies have helped to facilitate smooth functioning during the time only shows the need to imbibe them in the regular routine. Technology helped us in supporting the economy during these tough times. Businesses successful in managing working from home can now consider introducing this as a part of their work plan to bring in flexibility in the work culture.