Over the past few months, organizations have dealt with the impact of COVID-19 – from the plummeting economy to other severe business disruptions. Traditional work strategies were challenged, working from home has become the norm, and digital infrastructures were revamped to adjust to remote working requirements.
Like many of our clients, Wipro was quick to adapt, shifting to a 100% work from home model for our employees in Southeast Asia. We managed this feat in just over a week by developing a robust business continuity plan focused around customer delivery, strategic re-planning, and transformation.
Emerging stronger in the great reset
Now that the initial surprise element surrounding COVID has settled and businesses are returning to normalcy, organizations in Southeast Asia must design strategies promoting the resumption of operations, safe re-opening of offices, and the management of changed employee/customer expectations. Southeast Asia has always held an affinity for in-person experiences. For many industries, regardless of the available technology, human interaction has been preferred: in-person classes for education, office working for business, and shopping in store for retail. Digital and virtual options were a convenient alternative -- but only when needed.
In Southeast Asia, Wipro is developing future-ready workplace solutions through novel talent management techniques, revamped technology, and a renewed focus on employee engagement and wellbeing. As we do this, we’re keeping four key areas of impact in mind:
- Workforce evolution and on-demand talent-as-a-service: With remote working becoming the norm, new avenues for the utilization of previously untapped talent have opened up. Mercer Global Talent Trends 2020 reported that 39% of organizations are planning to use more variable talent pools, while Oxford Economics Workforce 2020 Asia Pacific Regional factsheet found that “85% of companies are increasingly using contingent, intermittent, seasonal, or consultant employees.” Wipro’s TopCoder provides qualified, vetted talent-as-a-service -- on demand -- for our clients who are considering talent acquisition via the gig economy.
- Digital readiness: According to Harvard Business Review’s article discussing the “social distance readiness” of 42 countries, multiple in the Asia Pacific region were below the median for digital platform robustness and internet infrastructure resilience. Revamping digital infrastructures and ensuring cyber-security readiness are essential for uninterrupted business operations. In addition, companies need to ramp up automation with innovative uses of AI to counter decreases in physical interactions.
Finally, as businesses reconsider their investments in physical infrastructure in the wake of a larger remote workplace, smart and integrated technologies will be needed to facilitate hot-desking. Wipro is helping several clients in the APAC region boost digital readiness for this new normal.
- Safe workplaces: Adequate protocols relating to social distancing, sanitization, and facility utilization must be implemented before employees can return to the workplace. In addition, easy–to-use platforms that can monitor employee health, provide facility access, and monitor social distancing within the premises are essential to ensuring workplace safety.
For instance, Wipro has launched our Health CO-VER “Back to office” app, which can be used by employees to book workspaces, fill health declarations, and generate QR codes that can then be scanned to gain entry into the premises. The app also provides access to Wipro’s COVID preparedness, FAQs, and emergency helpline details. Plus, it has integrated social distancing functionality to ensure safety within the campus.
- Employee engagement and wellbeing: Business leaders are faced with the new challenge of keeping a newly fragmented workforce engaged, healthy, and motivated. Our uncertain future, loss of physical social contact, blurred work-life boundaries, and added responsibilities of home management have led to an increase in emotional and mental stress amongst employees. These changes must be actively managed.
Wipro took a multipronged approach toward employee wellbeing, utilizing our technology to survey employee sentiments, launch 24-hour crisis support, offer modules focused on behavioral management, and promote the utilization of leaves. Additionally, we have launched Duologue in ASEAN – a platform that facilitates leadership engagement with top talent – to help employees stay connected with the larger organizational vision.
COVID-19 has disrupted the traditional way of working, leading to a more fluid and flexible digital world that requires more dependence on technology, innovation, and adaptability. Today, new opportunities emerging. The question is: How are you preparing your workplace and workforce for the future?