Digitally Transforming Uncertainty to Surety amid the Third Wave 270

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by Abhishek Rungta, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, INT.

As the third wave of Covid-19 rages on, India Inc is in wait-and-watch mode as the pandemic scrambles return-to-office plans. As remote work is going to continue, INT. has laid various plans and measures to beat employee burnout, preserve business continuity, and build enterprise resilience.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, INT.

One of the biggest business challenges that have come up is dealing with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Just a few months back when the majority of the states reported quite a few Covid-19 cases, the companies started calling back their employees. And of course, INT. was not an exception in this case. But unfortunately, things started changing at the end of December 2021 as the Covid-19 cases were again on the rise. Like many other companies, INT. had to abort the mission of starting the office in ‘hybrid mode’ and calling back its employees. 

INT. is following a very cautious and preventive approach for essential employees who are required to work from the office. At INT., we are following strict Covid-19 protocols, and allowing only the fully vaccinated employees in the office premises. Furthermore, anyone who experiences any symptoms is advised to remain at home. INT. is currently in a ‘wait and see’ mode. Due to this uncertainty, calling back our employees has been postponed. 

As remote work is going to continue, employee burnout will continue as well. Rather, it will worsen as employees have been working from home for almost two years now! The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress. Therefore, employers need to take burnout seriously. INT. has implemented the following measures to beat work from home burnout.

  1. Chalking out more compassionate and human-centric policies to take care of employee well-being. 
  2. Avoid video meetings fatigue by keeping them short as much as possible. Meetings are meant to be productive, not redundant or tiring.
  3. Setting boundaries and limits as working from home don’t mean our employees are available round the clock unless an emergency arises. 
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 At INT. we are not panicked at the onset of the third wave. Rather, we are ready with a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and remain hopeful for normalcy to return soon. 

“INT. is following a very cautious and preventive approach for essential employees who are required to work from the office. At INT., we are following strict Covid-19 protocols, and allowing only the fully vaccinated employees in the office premises. Furthermore, anyone who experiences any symptoms is advised to remain at home. INT. is currently in a ‘wait and see’ mode. Due to this uncertainty, calling back our employees has been postponed.”

Companies must focus on remote working. As businesses come surging back, we should understand the workforce challenges employees will face in this post-pandemic world. As we return to the workplace, we have three options: everyone back to the office, a hybrid model, or going remote. Because the risks Covid-19 poses continue to evolve, companies will need to maintain flexibility in how they reshape the future of work. 

Despite the high increase of the third Covid-19 wave, hiring activity in India’s IT industry has become quite brisk. According to a report, more than 70,000 active job vacancies were posted on LinkedIn in the first week of 2022. INT. expects a minimal impact on hiring plans as companies across the globe are accelerating digitisation plans for improving brand visibility and revenue growth. As a result, virtual interviews and onboarding will continue to be lucrative to top candidates.

One of the trending topics that have hit the market especially during this time is the digital workplace. Gartner says that the digital workplace enables new and more effective ways of working, raising employee engagement and agility, and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies. 

Technologies have evolved the workplace by leaps and bounds. Gone are the days when the workplace used to mean physical office spaces surrounded by employees during regular working hours. Here are some of the emerging technologies to create a digital workplace: 

  1. Cloud computing for the employees to store data instead of local storage
  2. Incorporating virtual assistants to automate daily repetitive tasks
  3. Secure group messaging system so that employees can connect at any time from any part of the world
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The pandemic has accelerated the need for remote working and it has become the ‘new-normal’ in this world. Remote working has made it possible for companies to access a global talent pool. Many companies have announced pay cuts for their employees who are working from home. However, INT. has not announced any such things. Like many other international studies, we have observed that employee productivity increases in remote working. Hence, we have chalked out a policy of paying our remote workers according to a national median.

“INT. expects a minimal impact on hiring plans as companies across the globe are accelerating digitisation plans for improving brand visibility and revenue growth. As a result, virtual interviews and onboarding will continue to be lucrative to top candidates.”

But the concept of remote work has also impacted workplace culture and employee well-being. Employees feel lonely and staying at home for a prolonged time has taken a toll on their mental health. According to a Forbes report, “25 percent of Americans feel lonely when working from home. In addition, the feeling of loneliness increased when they lost the support of those around them.” Eventually, employers are striving hard to empower their staff to deal with uncertainties.

Based on the stated points, we need more empathetic leadership to motivate employees and boost their productivity. Also, companies can build the company culture by increasing employee engagement, organising virtual social meetings, courses on stress and anxiety management, and many more.

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Abhishek is an Entrepreneur, Digital Strategy Consultant, Software Architect, Marketing Geek, and Angel Investor. He founded INT. in the year 1997 spearheading the company’s objective of enabling digital success for businesses. His other associations include Indus Net Academy, Indus Net TechShu Digital, EnergyTech Ventures, and Seeders Venture Capital. He has also served as President of the Kolkata Chapter of TiE.

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