The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the vital role of technology and innovation for supporting remote working, scaling digital channels, and measuring productivity. Companies have digitized overnight to keep operations going while minimizing the risk to employees by adapting to new ways of working and new technologies to aid them. And there is more to come.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Manmeet Sandhu, Chief People Officer, PhonePe shares how video conferencing, collaboration tools, and paperless onboarding procedures have helped smoothen the transition to work from home structure.
COVID-19 seems to be accelerating digital transformation in the workplace across industries. How are businesses fast-tracking their digital agenda amid this crisis?
This unique situation has highlighted the need to adapt and work remotely across industries and functions. Video conferencing and collaboration tools have helped smoothen the transition to work from home structure.
At PhonePe, the safety and health of our employees and their families remain our top priorities. We have provided all our employees with everything they need to work out of home including laptops, remote access to tools that enable collaboration, and work seamlessly across teams. As a policy, we have also been providing our employees with reimbursement for data and on phone bills up to a certain limit. We have also successfully onboarded new hires through paperless onboarding procedures and induction using video conferencing facilities.
How are you preparing for a post-COVID business? What investments are the most necessary to create a technology environment that will allow your company to thrive in the next normal?
We have continued to ask employees to not be at work if they or their families are at risk, they are unable to use private transport or if they are not in their main office location. We have also limited employee presence in the office to 30% or less.
Most of the additional safety measures are just about paying more attention to things and being more rigorous in following certain protocols. Any increase in cost either in technology or in the office is going to be minimal, and even if there is an increase in cost, it is less important than ensuring adequate safety.
A lot of employees must be working remotely. What are your biggest challenges with respect to dealing with this new style of working and what technologies are you employing to solve them?
As mentioned above, many of our existing infrastructure, video conferencing facilities, and easy availability of data have helped in working seamlessly across locations and across teams. Even with work from home structure, we found people quickly getting back in the groove with the same amount of energy and innovation flowing.
In fact, we were concerned that the initial days of WFH may result in burnout because people were working more than usual.
“As a responsible organization, we have to ensure that the teams find the right balance of work and personal life both. So, we introduced Do Not Work From Home (DNWFH) for an extended weekend of three days where employees were not allowed to turn on their laptops.”
Do you see a new tech infrastructure in the making for your organization after COVID-19?
We have always been a tech-focused organization and have had the infrastructure we need to be nimble and agile at all times. This coupled with easy and affordable data along with smartphone penetration in India has made virtual collaborations and working possible and accessible for many.
What do you think are the security implications of the post COVID world because data will no longer be confined to corporate offices?
As you have rightly mentioned, data is no longer confined to offices which may pose security threats/implications. However, in this crisis time, we have to prioritize people first.
“Hence, we have strict information security protocols that were already in place which employees are made aware of and are mandated to follow at all times.”
Any threats we sense - internally or externally, we immediately inform all our employees of the same along with the set of dos and don’ts. We also learn from our peers from the industry and try to implement some of those learnings to avoid such threats. Employees are given clear instructions on how to identify and report possible security threats. Plus our service providers also do a fairly good job of filtering some of these threats out.
To learn more about leading with Adaptable Tech in a post-COVID world, join us at People Matters TechHR India week.