Data's role in workforce re-entry amid COVID-19
The 'new normal' will look different—data can help.
July 30, 2020
As organisations prepare to shift employees back to a sense of 'normal' and reopen physical workplaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are numerous aspects to consider. Employee health, protection and regulation are of paramount concern, as well as privacy and communication. Along with creating these frameworks, we strongly recommend that companies consider the critical role data can play in informing their re-entry plan—no matter what industry.
Data platforms are critical to compliance with legal regulations
When mobilising a workforce for re-entry, it's important to take a data-forward approach to fulfil statutory compliance as per local governance. Whether it's a technology organisation, consulting group, retailer, restaurant or gas station—each entity needs to adhere to certain location-specific requirements and submit documents and proofs to meet those requirements.
Having an application and data platform to collect, process and manage required compliance details like cleaning and sanitising of employee workspaces is just one way to help organisations reopen faster, safely. In terms of compliance, data platforms will also provide a systematic way to document, record and collect the information needed to comply with your local area's privacy needs.
Smart automation will help reopen business faster
The COVID-19 crisis isn't primarily an economic issue; rather, it's a health- and humanitarian-affected scenario. Reducing workforce health risks on site will require companies to create new and effective best practices. Some of these may include social distancing, as well as shift scheduling to ensure workplaces are less crowded. Scheduling employees on alternate days or times is an area where data can help, based on the type of work they are doing and the location they need to work or sit in. Utilising the correct data platform can help automate some of those decisions, or at least help the organisation make intelligent conclusions.
Additionally, as more companies like Apple and Google help with the COVID-19 crisis by innovative contact-tracing solutions, more data and insights will become available to monitor risks, operations and safety. Proactively evolving and engaging your data strategy, blended with contact tracing, data will enable you to tap into the new information, an immensely critical way to protect employees coming into contact with one another on location.
Remote workforce data can reveal strategic insights
Another important role that data can play is helping to unpack how successful organisations were in working remotely. How well did teams perform and collaborate? Over a very short period of time, many organisations were forced to accelerate or greatly scale adoption of remote capabilities, video conferencing and engagement. The 'new normal' for companies is going to look more like a hybrid between where we are within the crisis and where we were before—but the business landscape has proved that it's possible to engage more digitally with team members, customers, vendors and suppliers. Harnessing the data, organisations should continue to look for ways to leverage the remote best practices they learned to help reduce costs, improve employee satisfaction and provide true value to their customers.
For some organisations that weren't able to operate through the first few months of the pandemic, re-entry may mean reopening. If you're just starting to resume business, you're likely needing to respond to a demand that has been built up for a long time. Data analytics will play an even bigger role in providing demand predictions, as well as prescribing action to take advantage of new opportunities.