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Work@Home: Navigating through the New Normal

In sci-fi movies, characters often time-travel decades or centuries into the future, in a flash, to find that the world has drastically changed. My experience over the last few months has been quite similar. Our world is visibly different from what we knew it to be just a few months ago. Changes that typically take place over a period of years have happened in a span of months.

The scale of COVID-19 crisis calls to mind black swans, like the 9/11 or the 2008 financial meltdown – events that had lasting socio-economic impacts.

Taking things a notch higher, the novel virus is fast reorienting our approach towards the outside world, work, and even how we socialise. Both domestic and international travelling is largely restricted, resulting in a near-total shutdown of hotels, tourism services, cinemas, and entertainment zones. Shops of non-essential items are either longing for visitors or getting shut.

Today, nearly every organisation across sectors has a substantial fraction of their workforce fulfilling their duties from home. One of the most important change has also been how mainstream academic institutions – right from primary schools to universities have so swiftly adapted to imparting education online.

Not All Real Heroes Wear Capes
Like all movies have protagonists, here, it’s doctors, nurses, pathologists, law enforcement personnel, and others who continue to risk their lives at the frontline for the well-being of the larger population, who have emerged as heroes of this new normal world. Besides them, there is another group of people who’ve been intrinsic to ensuring business normalcy amid this disruption. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals have been working tirelessly, 24×7, with the sole purpose of keeping the business momentum going.

Telecommunication and digital technologies have played a decisive role in these times of crisis.  Millions of people could switch to remote working only because the required technologies were available. Students of all ages can continue with their studies at home, thanks to the virtual conferencing and distant-education tools.

Companies in the hospitality industry are keeping their audiences engaged through virtual experiences. Uninterrupted internet access with high bandwidth has kept registers rolling for entertainment businesses. Retailers of all sizes have switched to e-commerce to survive the cataclysm. The common element fostering connectivity across all these sectors has been none other than ICT – the horizontal that cuts through all sectors, and is equally crucial at both individual and enterprise levels.

Riding the Momentum
That said, I feel that the nature of this global digital transformation has been reactive and laden with short-sightedness. But this has not undermined the benefits of the transition. For instance, many organisations have recorded a significant increase in productivity, as a result of its employees working from home, due to the lockdown. And it is getting validated in our discussions with some of our customers as well.

Now imagine, what the results can be if organisations allow their employees to work-from-home permanently. It doesn’t have to be driven by a pandemic. The past few months have proven that enterprise-wide remote working is not only possible, but also an effective option that comes with significant benefits for both employers and employees. While this will bring down attrition and open up a larger talent pool as employees log in from anywhere in the country, it will also create opportunities for faster development in Tier 2,3 and 4 cities.

Cutting out the commute can make a huge difference in the quality of life of employees as their stress levels come down, improving their health and work-life balance. Companies can benefit immensely from this increased productivity while also saving on costs like large office spaces. Weighing these benefits, it can be safe to say that embracing the remote working model is a win-win for both companies and employees. As per media reports, a lot of organizations are now either planning to or have already taken steps to move large proportion of their workforce (33% – 75%) to work permanently from home in future with employees at the heart of the decision and allowing them to opt for a choice they prefer.

To offer such flexibility and free your workforce from the shackles of location, flawless connectivity, scalable internet bandwidth, cloud-based collaboration tools and on-demand services are imperative. Equally important, if not more, is how easily these are available and accessible. If all solutions and services that comprise your office infrastructure do not function in synchronisation, your company will end up operating below optimum. Besides, lesser the complexity of facilitating work from home, lower the IT overheads of your company would be.

Airtel Work@Home
Being India’s largest integrated telecommunications company, we have left no stone unturned to enable organisations, across the spectrum, to remain stable in choppy waters and adapt to the emerging realities. We have bundled both essential and add-on solutions and services into a single offering – Work@Home – to deliver a unified remote working experience to businesses of any size. This is India’s first enterprise grade solution designed to enable employees operate efficiently and securely from their homes. You can extend your corporate broadband to your employees’ home, provide free G-Suite access with priority SIMs, order MPLS over 4G, use various virtual conferencing tools of your choice, and ensure enterprise-application security with provider-provisioned VPN.

Our strong team of experts working on managed services make things simpler for all businesses during this time of crisis and beyond. I feel humbled and proud at the same time, to be leading such teams who have been known for decades for delivering excellence. Living up to our reputation, we are helping organisations to optimise their functions for the present while staying ready for the future. As the new normal on Work@Home sets in, there is one thing I will miss though: the office:)