When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, businesses across the globe had to make an almost instantaneous transition to remote work. In most cases, there was no formal plan in place, so organizations had to improvise how to continue operations and meet their customers’ needs, with employees from the CEO on down working from home.
Three months later, organizations are tasked with making the transition in reverse. Saying that businesses are getting back to work is a misnomer, however, because companies never stopped working; they just worked in a different manner from before. Now we need to transition back to people working in close physical contact again — while still adhering to guidelines and staying safe.
This process comes with challenges, but also with opportunities to work smarter.
We’ve identified three stages for future working — containment, back-to-work and digitizing for the future. We’ve also created five applications to assist with opening up offices and transitioning back to on-premises work.
Some countries and regions are starting to move away from containing the virus, where we had lockdowns and front-line workers (such as police and medical personnel) working to keep us safe.
Our COVID-19 inquiry app was developed to enable front-line service providers to push out inquiries to their team members to ascertain their health, risk of exposure and whether they needed to be quarantined. This allowed the service providers to get their workers the help they needed while ensuring they had the information necessary to maintain the level of resources needed in the community.
That inquiry app is starting to move mainstream, where organizations that want to get people back into offices or have visitors come to their location need to gather the same information. This will help ensure people are safe in the back-to-work phase.
With the app, users can start an inquiry on themselves or another employee. They are taken through a series of questions (which can be tailored to the individual organization) that ascertains their risk of contracting COVID-19. This kicks off a workflow to manage the inquiry, where both a medical and HR assessment can be done and the result recorded.
We’ve adapted this app to allow organizations to get the full picture of the health of all employees across departments and regions.
Resource Management App
K2 has also been helping front-line businesses around the world with their containment effort. One example is a resource management application that ensures front-line teams have the right people with the right skills in the right place in order to help treat COVID-19. Though we developed it as a containment application, it can be leveraged to allocate resources across offices and regions as the economy opens up again.
The app allows users to put in a request for a resource with specific criteria, such as region or job title, and the app will show how many resources (employees) fit that criteria. The user can then reserve the resource, who will be notified that they are being deployed.
Back to work
This phase is about enabling businesses such as dine-in restaurants, hotels and movie theaters to reopen as restrictions lift. The challenges in this phase include how to enable companies that have office spaces to use those office spaces again, how to do so while adhering to the various government guidelines and, most important, how to keep teams, visitors, contractors and anyone else who comes to the premises safe.
Office Opening Guideline App
Across the world, different governments have different guidelines about how to open offices and how to manage tasks such as cleaning offices and performing risk assessments. These guidelines and regulations are changing frequently, and organizations need a way to keep track of the changing guidelines and their adherence.
We have an application that allows users to upload the guidelines in the different regions where the company operates and allocate tasks to employees responsible for ensuring guidelines are adhered to and implemented.
Staff and Visitor Office Registration App
This application allows users to schedule staff access to offices and ensure all staff and visitors check-in and out of the office. Users can manage the shifts that teams may work inside the office, allocate resource pools and enable approved workers to log in.
General Task Management App
With workers no longer necessarily sitting in the same physical office, organizations need a way to manage the tasks that were often managed through in-person conversations. Users can now allocate specific tasks to people through a centralized task tracking app, which will keep track of all the work across the different applications in use.
All of these apps can be downloaded from our website, and they can be customized and extended using K2 low-code tooling. These can be run as independent applications, or users can utilize the K2 workspace to create a workspace and add in other unified applications.
More information on these apps and other solutions can be found on the K2 COVID-19 Resource Center page.
Digitizing for the future
The third stage of going back to work is focused on going digital, and that’s what K2 is all about. Many organizations focus their digital capabilities on optimizing customer-facing solutions or managing core line-of-business systems while running other processes manually.
What the pandemic has taught us is that manual and untrackable work is a huge problem when your workforce is working remotely. And even if they are able to sit together in an office, automated processes are advantageous because they free your workforce up for more complex tasks. This is what organizations should be focusing on as they move through the back-to-work phases.
All of the apps described here were built using K2’s low-code process automation platform. We can help your organization get back-to-work safely and smartly — so you’ll never have to adapt without a plan again.