Everything about work has changed since Covid-19 wreaked havoc worldwide, especially about concept and experiences of “Work from Home”. For long companies and employees have debated about pros and cons of work from home (WFH), especially millennial professionals who believe all they need is a laptop, internet connection and Starbucks to get work done from anywhere, anytime. Now future of work i.e. “Work from Home” enabled by technology is a permanent shift, companies are already upgrading and testing their technology infrastructure to give an enterprise grade experience to remote workers. (All happening at a lightning speed since last 10 days).
A new category “Employee Experience” has emerged and is now at par in importance with “Customer Experience”, both are important, giving awesome experience to customers and employees is a new reality for companies. Making Communications and Collaboration easily available is part of the new Work Experience.
Industry reports and surveys conducted by technology company (fuze) indicate following statistics:
· 83% of workers do not believe they need to be in an office to be productive
· 43% believe they would be more productive working from home
· 70% of those surveyed ages 16-44 want to be more mobile at work
· 88% use smartphones for work daily
· 49% use tablet minimum 3 times per week
As a Digital Transformation Leader, I have been working closely with CIO, CTO’s and other technology leaders for a long time, never did I see such a strong commitment and focus as in last 10 days on “Employee Experience” and leveraging various technology and tools to make WFH @ Scale a reality. Scale and speed are Key in enabling this Digital Workforce Transformation.
Here are few observations, learning and best practices implemented in successful large scale WFH migration program at a large enterprise. (Yes, all done in last 10 days)
1) Commitment: Leadership at this company committed early to employee health and social responsibility to prevent spread of Corona virus. They also committed to use of technology and infrastructure upgrade to enable success of WFH migration. (10,000 plus employees made remote in 10 days)
2) Metrics: Task force was set up and key metrics put in place to measure the remote work experience. (Metrics include employee experience surveys, VPN speed, Help Desk for technology migration, Security patches, Use of Cloud technologies etc.) Daily metrics were reviewed with leadership team and actions taken to ensure all is “Green”
3) Connectivity: Monitoring VPN for peak thresholds and average daily use is a key metric. Tracking VPN usage using Green (up to 70%), Amber (71-85% and Red (86-100%) threshold limits helps in smooth operations. Its key to track the trend to previous day and trailing week. Using insights and historical trends, experts were able to augment VPN capacity before it became an issue. The upgrade happened at least 2-3 times to accommodate the pattern shift in remote VPN usage.
4) Migration: Tracking employee / number of devices migrating to home and use of access technology is helpful in understanding the speed of shift to WFH. Key measurement indicators are:
a. How many devices are on Corporate Network?
b. Daily shift of Devices to home and use of VPN?
c. Daily shift to access corporate network via use of secure Internet Technologies (Non-VPN)
5) Collaboration: Skype and TEAMS played a crucial role in employees staying connected with each other and getting meaningful work done on time and with awesome experience. Key highlights are:
a. 50% increase in use of Microsoft technologies i.e. TEAMS. Majority of workers were first time WFH employees, collaboration and feeling of staying connected with co-workers was key, TEAMS proved to be a very valuable tool and collaboration platform.
b. Skype was also a very valuable tool; most people normally use Skype as a default communication/conferencing tool. We saw an increased use of Non-VPN Skype connections.
c. Lot of large employee team meetings / webinar / town halls were happening across the board, this resulted in need to substantially increase Skype and TEAMS licenses.
6) Support Help Desk: This is a lifeline, savior and essential tool to get employees migrated to work from home. Be prepared for a challenging time in this category, support calls and chats will drastically increase, SLAs will be missed for Support quality and response time. Delays are expected, proactive efforts to increase staff and being ready with frequently asked questions and simple tips for WFH will be required. You will get all types of calls, sometimes as funny as power not plugged in. Take Support seriously as you will see 200 – 300 % increase in call and chat volumes.
7) Security and Encryption: With a shift in lot of devices moving to home (Laptops and especially desktops), security and encryption will be an important category. Cloud Management Gateways will be used for adherence and patch distribution over internet. Capacity of security gateways will have to be increased and added security tools like BitLocker will become important for data encryption and protection.
8) Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Nothing is as important as rating the employee experience. The survey is a key measurement tool and will have to be initiated twice a week (approx. 40-50% response rate is typical). Two key criteria will be measured:
a. Performance of Computers at home vs office.
b. Employee Experience with the overall shift to home and support provided to them.
The future of work is here, the way people communicate and collaborate with their co-workers has changed. Empowering employees and equipping them with the right tools and technologies will be a huge differentiator and key for employee experience index. Companies and Technology leaders will leverage Cloud, Machine Learning, Data and Analytics to make this Digital Workforce Transformation a permanent shift.
About the author:
Sunil Sehgal is a Global Executive for Digital Transformation. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (+1) 678-361-4357