With the onset of the life-threatening pandemic, businesses have shut shops due to the risks involved in on-site employment. The departments that could afford building up remote bases are saved, but what about sectors that need on-site labour involvement. Companies are either considering stopping all productions or retaining limited numbers.
According to an International Labour Organization (ILO) prediction, 25 million jobs will be threatened by the novel coronavirus. The most affected sectors have been the food and accommodation (144 million workers), retail and wholesale (482 million); business services and administration (157 million); and manufacturing (463 million).
“Overall, in the second quarter of 2020- from April to June- the working hours are likely to decline by 6.7%. Based on the 48-hour working week, this means than 195 million full-time workers are likely to suffer severely,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, speaking in Geneva via videoconference, as reported by UN News.
There is much that can be done about the manufacturing sectors that require manual intervention, but how can the unemployment curve be flattened?
1st CTA: Here comes the intervention of cloud application development solution providers like Fission Labs who are offering quick, easy, and temporary solutions to help organizations in need, especially in the field of analytics and data, cloud management, testing services and more. They can also guide you through tips to integrate an extended team into your regular workforce. To know more, read this blog. Need support? you could reach out to them here].
Creating extended teams
Extended teams have been the best way to come out of such a tacky situation. Using advanced Microsoft Teams is a good way to leverage the situation. Platforms like Google Cloud and organizations like Fission Labs offer setting up temporary extended teams to help business continuity and productivity.
There has certainly been a spike in the usage of Microsoft Teams. It reported a record 2.7 billion total billion minutes in a single day on April 9, as reported by the GeekWire.
Tools that companies are leveraging for business continuity
Working from home requires a lot of coordination and dependency on tools to ensure that delivery is not stalled. So, here’s a guide to the basic tools that can be used, depending on the maturity and experience of the organization:
Office Tools: Most leverage the MS Office Suites, which may include forms, spreadsheets, simple database, and more, to manage their business continuity programs.
BCM Planning software: These help recovery of documents, initiates dependency between applications, processes, and functions. It also helps in Business Impact Analysis and Threat and Risk Assessment functions. These can be used or can be customized, depending on the size and requirement of the companies. These solutions could be SaaS or on-premise solutions.
Document storage platforms: Avail your documents everywhere, anywhere if you are using Dropbox.com, Box.com, or even a private cloud provider. Some organizations are also known to use platforms like SharePoint and other internal solutions.
Communication and notification tools: These tools are usually used to communicate short, direct messages to recovery teams, stakeholders. One of the most popular of them being- Emergency or Mass Notification Systems.
Web and conference calling services: Some of the major players offering such services include Skype, GoToMeeting, WebX, RingCentral, Zoom, and more. With these solutions, teams can share screens and discuss as a group.
Recovery sites: Data loss is a common phenomenon even in normal situations. DR as a service (DRaas) providers leverage current replication and recovery tools to provide end-to-end technical recovery of various systems. It must, however, worth noting that these solutions are only effective in virtual server environments or with physical servers that can be used only as, and virtual servers. Some of the other options that vendors opt for include alternate site providers, DR Recovery providers, and cloud-based services. Some of the most common platforms used for the purpose are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack Cloud.
Positive growth in economy
While no one can assure of immediate economic growth like in normal times, remote working options will certainly cushion finances from hitting an irrevocable rock bottom.
Geek further states that employees are logging in earlier and logging out late, with more breaks on between. Nevertheless, companies say that the average time between the first and the last usage has increased by more than an hour.
This trend is here to stay- COVID or No-COVID. For instance, China, some parts of which is said to have already bounced back to work, is reporting higher usage of TEAMS, which is growing. In fact, some companies are gaining out of it.
For instance, The Redmond Company, a real-estate giant is said to have reported a 775% increase in the usage of its cloud services, which has added 7% to the company’s market share.
Challenges: Cracks that need to be filled
Most companies were of opinion that they have the tools needed to allow employees to work from home. But, at the helm of crisis, everything seems to have fallen flat. From lack of collaboration tools to lack of interpersonal training on navigation of a new software, organizations are paying a hefty price across timelines, scrambling to meet the requirements of employees working from home.
Experts see a silver lining here too. Having seen the worst, organizations would be better equipped to handle such crises in the future. Employees will be trained for any exigency situation and would be trained on latest software so that they can jump into action right away when the need be.
But, what now?
Back to ground zero?
Organizations are facing a unique dilemma now. To leverage company assets to retain employees (at the cost of money and time) or to lay off a significant portion of the workforce to avoid any further complications. Some companies are choosing to make partial payments to their employees, some are opting for complete downsizing. But would that help in the long-term?
Once the situation turns normal, they would require both merit and talent at a greater price. Add to it the monetization involved in training the new employees and waiting for them to join the productivity cycle in full force. The entire purpose of saving money lost, businesses will fall flat yet another time.
Natasha, an IT-sector employee in India, explains a way out. “Although the entire world is embracing for the impending economic fallout, the numbers would be staggering in the Asia-Pacific region because of the population explosion here,” she said.
Further adding how she and the organization she is working for have been dealing, she said, “ I had been offered a pay cut with work from home option or complete lay-off. I opted for the first one. It is not just about the family, it is also about the job security.”
Needless to say, companies are cashing in on ‘work-life balance’ and temporary ‘cost cuts’, while retaining worthy employees at low costs. Certainly, this works out well for both parties.
Figures to consider
According to a survey, conducted among company managers, by the Future of Work, 78% of the respondents believed that working from home offered the flexibility that added to the pointers when it came to company retention, which did not require a pay hike.
32% of employees surveyed by the same organization believe that owing to the increasing travel time and lack of work-life balance would force them to consider employments that offer work from home facilities.
Two-third of the employees stated that they would have to reconsider sticking to their present organization if there was a lack of flexibility and work-life balance.
Certainly, COVID has left no other option but to shift to a blended work environment using physical and virtual collaboration tools. However, this will prepare organizations to face such storms in the future, going in favor of the economy. For now, it would be useful especially if COVID persists or worsens.
FissionLabs could be your BCM partner in these trying times. With its integrated innovation, high-performance workforce, Agile process, and adaptivity, the company leverages cutting-edge technologies such as Cloud, AI, Big Data, IoT, and machine learning to deliver intuitive, customer-friendly, and scalable solutions that address your core business need at the time of crisis.