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How Companies Can Use Technology to Help Employees Return to the Workplace

Gautam Sukumar, Senior Vice President, Product Management, ADP
Gautam Sukumar, Senior Vice President, Product Management, ADP

Gautam Sukumar, Senior Vice President, Product Management, ADP

The current global health event we’re facing has required businesses to respond to rapidly and continuously changing operating and market conditions, unlike that of any previous disruption or economic downturn. As the working world continues to react and recover, employers should lean into technology and its ability to help digitize their workforce. This digital transformation can help them confidently navigate the shifting environment and chart a successful course forward in the new world of work.

In fact, communication, digital contact tracing, shift management and a cloud-based logging platform are all beneficial solutions businesses should consider to help staff feel safe while remaining productive. Tech platforms to help management monitor the health of their workforce are critical, but it’s also wise to leverage mobile technology for a more granular, real-time examination in a dynamic business climate. Many businesses now have the opportunity to engage staff remotely, encourage them to share real-time health check-ins on the go, and manage findings through a cloud-based platform that can identify trends.

  Cloud-based platforms with machine learning features help businesses analyze and understand massive amounts of data, which in turn helps them make more informed decisions 

While leaders know that digital solutions offer a competitive edge, identifying the right digital transformation tools given the circumstances can ultimately evolve their business and help them seize new opportunities in a landscape punctuated by uncertainty.

Solutions to Keep Employee Wellbeing Top of Mind

To start, online questionnaires are a great way for employees to self-report on their overall wellbeing and activity. For example, if employees report going to a location with known exposure, management may consider having them work from home or excusing them from the physical workplace for a period of time. Having employees self-report on how they’re feeling can help businesses make better informed decisions to keep the workplace safe.

Surveys through company-wide communication apps may help ease the burden on management, too. Simple surveys and polls provide immediate metadata to management, which can facilitate a nimbler decision-making process. There’s also an advantage to using mobile-first reporting apps or platforms, where the ability to quickly take a survey on a phone or tablet encourages employees to respond faster and can provide employers another way to quickly gather, manage and parse data.

It's critical for employers to understand that this data should be used in an objective and non-discriminatory manner solely for the purpose of bringing employees back to the workplace safely. Given the current global health event, employers and employees are engaging in more dialogue about wellness, and it’s important for employers to preserve the integrity of those exchanges and ensure that any survey data they collect is kept safe, private, secure and in compliance with all applicable health privacy laws and regulations.

Time and Shift Management Matter

Self-attestation of health and availability can also help managers schedule staff to return to the workplace in stages if desired.  This is especially advantageous if companies are working to bring specific teams back to the office. 

Logging and managing self-reported data is critical when an employee feels ill or tests positive for COVID-19. Without a platform to manage these attestations, employers may be unaware of who might beat risk. When an employee reports feeling ill or having a positive COVID-19 test, employers will need to quickly analyze with whom that employee may have had contact. Shift management platforms along with self-reporting and survey solutions help employers frame an early detection program, which can help keep companies running with limited disruption and provide peace of mind to staff.

Staggering shifts, when applicable, can help a company remain productive while following social distancing guidelines for staff. Those who can work from home can help streamline planning for management, immediately reducing the headcount for managers to schedule and risk factors for other staffers who might need to work onsite. Moreover, platforms such as touchless time kiosks can help mitigate situations of shared contact.

Logistics Solutions Keep Everyone Safe

Having employees self-report on how they’re feeling and whether they’ve experienced any potential symptoms is important, but companies also need a method to parse that data. Cloud-based platforms with machine learning features help businesses analyze and understand massive amounts of data, which in turn helps them make more informed decisions. 

Managers can utilize these types of platforms to compare data collected at a company against local or national trends in cases to better identify emerging risk factors and make informed decisions, such as increasing testing or temporarily shutting down an office.

Unifying the Approach through a Single Platform

There are a number of different approaches employers can take to leverage technology in the return to the workplace. Some might opt to pair multiple solutions to fulfill certain defined needs, while others might look for one system. When it comes to bringing employees back to the workplace and managing talent and compliance in the new world of work, leveraging a single cloud-based human capital management (HCM) platform can help companies confidently navigate forward. With one platform serving as a central nervous system, businesses can react more quickly and make better informed decisions to manage their key asset: their people. By streamlining core HR functions, management can focus on the higher level tasks at hand during a moment in time when the purpose of HR has never been more in focus.

Whether returning to the workplace or continuing to work remotely, workers everywhere are eager to find ways to be productive without compromising their health. Having connected capabilities such as worker surveys coupled with selection, attestation, scheduling and contact tracing, as well access to key metrics and trends, can help businesses digitize their workforce operations to create a safe work environment with confidence. Companies, who implement meaningful technology solutions with the wellbeing of their workforce top of mind will help avoid disruption to business, keep employees engaged and even pave the way for the future of work in a post-COVID climate.

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