By Nikhil Kothary
The technological advancements achieved in the past two decades have brought about a major revolution in the corporate sector, changing every aspect of our working life. Starting from the way employees enter in the office premises to the way they attend meetings, or collaborate remotely, technology has become an integral part of the modern business world. While these new-age, sophisticated technologies present unbridled opportunities, their primary objective is to ensure a smooth workflow and increase productivity and efficiency of employees. Companies have been quick to incorporate some of these technologies, but the coronavirus pandemic is now accelerating the digitalization of the corporate sector as mostly organizations continues to work from home, what may be the new normal in a COVID, and, most probably, a post-COVID future – a possibility of working from home for the rest of the year or permanent.
Leveraging tech conferencing for Work from home
As cases of coronavirus continue to increase exponentially, a large percentage of India Inc. has been working from home. They are leveraging video-conferencing platforms, workflow & communications tools like Google Meet, Slack, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams Cisco WebEx etc., to remotely collaborate with their co-workers, host meetings, and even participate in informal brainstorming sessions in real-time In fact, productivity among employees has gone up significantly in the times of lockdown. Major tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon have already extended their work from policy until the foreseeable future. Twitter has also announced that it plans to give its employees an option to work from home permanently. While the concept of remote working is far from novel, advanced technologies have made it a seamless transition from working from office to working from home.
Tracking productivity remotely
Up until recently, the productivity of employees was mainly measured by the number of hours they spend inside the office. In a remote working environment, this is not possible. However, there are software solutions like TeamViewer, project management tools such as Jira, as well as communications tools such as Slack & Microsoft Teams that allows the company management to keep a track of the employees’ daily work progress and ensure that each task is getting completed on time. Similarly, companies can use tech-based platforms to measure the time it takes an employee to complete tasks. This enables them to not only maintain but also improve the turnaround time for achieving better productivity.
Contactless entrance control
As most organizations start opening up it become imperative for organization to have stringent entrance control and checks for employees, visitors or contractors who are entering the premise to ensure safety compliance. The Contactless Visitor management for entrance control has been one of the key areas that can help organization control and manage their entrance. By replacing the legacy of manual visitor entry registration with AI-based contactless visitor management systems. These technology-enabled systems facilitate seamless , visitors, contractors authentication with QR code, re registration, automated host notification, track visitor health form , control and have visibility of people in the premise, generate digital passes for visitors with zero human-to-human interactions.
According to global research and advisory firm Gartner, enterprise IT spending for cloud-based offerings will grow faster than traditional (non-cloud) IT offerings through 2022. Moreover, Cloud shift across key enterprise IT markets is projected to increase to 28% in the next couple of years, up from just 19% in 2018. The general consensus among experts is that companies that don’t adopt cloud-based applications and services will fall behind their competitors. Given how the majority of companies are operating remotely, it becomes imperative that the cloud becomes an integral part of every workplace.
Retaining the staff has been one of the major challenges for companies during this pandemic. With revenues being cut, thousands of employees have been fired or furloughed. Against this backdrop, technology has emerged as a saviour for employees to upskill and reskill themselves. Many AI-based personalized platforms are offering courses in AI and machine learning, data analytics, digital marketing, etc. for professionals. Curated by experts, these courses are set across different difficulty levels. This is also enabling companies to optimize the skillsets of their existing base of employees without having to resort to firing someone.
While technology has been redefining and reinventing the corporate sector since a while now, the COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to take a hard look at their existing practices and adopt new technologies to tackle unprecedented challenges, train the workforce with new skillsets, and optimize time as well as resources. Some of the current technology trends observed in the corporate space may not be permanent, but it goes without saying that technology is changing the face of enterprises as we know it.
(The author is CEO of VAMS Global. Views expressed are personal.)