COVID-19 and its unprecedented onslaught brought along with it several challenges that impacted how we live and the professional space has witnessed massive shifts. With social distancing in place and intermittent lockdowns from time to time, work from home has become a norm. Adapting to remote working was a severe challenge in the initial days and organisations and employees galore grappled with multiple issues. However, even with these new challenges, some organizations were able to not only survive but also thrive by introducing new ways of communication and engagement, all of which were enabled by technology.
The pandemic has brought challenges for well-being of employees both in terms of health issues along with more personal and emotions trials and tribulations associated with extended isolation, amplified further with the second wave. A study by Workplace Intelligence and Oracle discovered that employees believe that this is “the most stressful year in the history” while another study found that three out of four workers have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by Covid-19. Remote working and the technology in tackling these problems has played an important role in the well-being of the employees. It has enabled organizations to ensure productivity is not compromised and employees are connected to one another even as remote working becomes the norm. It has also allowed for an added advantage of enhanced customer experience and consequential growth and profitability of organizations.
Technology: Central to Employee Experience Strategy
Customer centricity is core to every organization and is an important facet for the survival of any business. But organisations must not forget that employees play a crucial role in the company’s success. For millennials, the definition of employment and working, exceeds the confined concept of earning a living wage. It encompasses a comfortable workplace, inclusive office culture as well as positive interaction with the leadership, and integrating technology within a company’s framework has proved to be one of the best ways to improve the employee experience in any organization.
Employee experience is more important now than ever, there is huge competition among companies not only for market share but also for talent acquisition and retention. The role of technology is vital as it allows people an open platform where they can share their ideas and have their voices heard, while also enabling collaboration. Cloud based tools such as Microsoft teams, Google meet, Google Cloud etc, have proved to be extremely efficient where the employees can come together collectively for meetings and more communications, besides working on documents at the same time. Several applications and tools such as virtual post it stamps allow for a collaborative online discussion in simple yet unique ways. Hence, engagement as well as effectiveness of meetings is ensured.
Allowing a more flexible work from home experience for all employees, with special focus on young-mothers and individuals caring for a family, the latest technological advancements, integration of AI, ML & IoT within the daily processes has proved to be a great advantage. Organizations continued business processes during the pandemic due to the widespread usage of information and communication technologies. The advancements that had taken place in recent memory as well as specific innovations during the pandemic seem to be dominant trends through which the potential future of the Indian workplace shall also be recognised.
Lastly, with the incorporation of ICT into the working infrastructure and framework of organisations, employers have witnessed a sharp rise in innovative solutions and problem solving from their employees.
Major changes workplaces can implement with the use of Technology
Incorporation of the ICT infrastructure has played an essential role of changing the game over the past year, ensuring robust connectivity and easy communication, leading to seamless operations and business continuity for organisations galore. Employees were pushed out of their offices to work remotely, and the IT departments adapted with immediate agility to keep people engaged and ensure productivity levels stay intact.
The past year has led to a sharp increase in stress levels taking a toll on mental health and the eventual productivity of employees across sectors and organisations. Some companies have partnered with wellness technology companies to ensure the well-being and mental health needs of their employees. These companies provide virtual well-being seminars, 24/7 counselling services etc. allowing individuals to manage their mental health in a safe, judgement free environment.
Studies further indicate employees are also prioritising safety and health when evaluating their return to the workspace Thus, many companies have adopted technologies enabling employees to spot Covid-19 infections in building. Some organisations have added an automated contact tracing tool that notifies employees who have been in contact with another worker who tested positive for the virus.
Even as we cope with the current health situation, it is also crucial that employees be proactive and committed to organizational goals and road maps by maintaining their pace of work and motivation levels which ultimately shows in their outputs. Thus, the onus also lies on employees to remain focused, and reach out to stay engaged and ensure progress is made.
Regardless of the many benefits of integrating technology for the employee experience, some organizations still lack the required wherewithal and impetus for making that much needed shift. Recent trends, however, show that investment in reducing the technological gaps within the organisations, guarantees employee satisfaction, thereby leading to better productivity and bolstered efficiency. Digital migration has emerged as the need of the hour and technology can remain instrumental in making life easier for clients and employees alike. All it requires is the will to be agile and adapt and stay nimbly rooted, besides of course staying receptive to exploring tech tools and viewing them as absolute enablers.