The most immediate priority should be to protect the health and safety of people. That requires leaders to make rapid, highly-informed decisions, and take actions to protect and support their people while also ensuring that critical business operations continue.
The first step is enabling remote workers at scale. Accenture’s Elastic Digital Workplace roadmap outlines six dimensions which have proven effective in quickly transitioning to a remote workplace environment.
Culture and adoption
For many companies, the shift to remote working can take time to adopt. Tools and coaching are needed to help leaders create the right environment to test and learn and help people rapidly adopt new ways of working. There are three main aspects:
Elastic collaboration requires a rapid, and in some cases, exponential expansion of your current collaboration capabilities. Case and point: As the largest user of Microsoft Teams in the world, Accenture has 448,000 people communicating and collaborating on the platform.
With the vast majority of our people working remotely due to the pandemic, our usage of Microsoft Teams audio conferencing has more than doubled, from an average of 350 million minutes per month to 760 million minutes per month; and our use of video conferencing has increased six-fold, from 14 million minutes per month to 84 million minutes per month.
With more employees working remotely, collaboration tools must be able to immediately handle an increase in volume and load while also improving usability and productivity. Actions to consider include:
As a resource for other organisations, Accenture recently worked with Microsoft to launch a Microsoft Teams Rapid Resource Center that provides useful how-to instructions, best practices and additional resources at no cost to help quickly put Teams to work.
Virtual work environment
Virtual work environments provide employees with key resources they need to be productive, such as a secure laptop, and provide seamless access to corporate applications and data. Key aspects that should be addressed include:
Reclaim devices from users with more than one device and use contractor devices or explore creative sourcing options. Accelerate a “bring your own device” or mobility strategy for remote workers, and provide protection and management solutions.
Working productively from home or other remote locations requires seamless, secure, and reliable network connectivity to corporate networks, cloud assets, and to strategic partners. Consider the implementation of the following:
The most important thing to get right during the COVID-19 outbreak is the protection of customers, employees, and partners. This requires clearly monitoring and assessing a quickly evolving environment, making rapid business decisions, and communicating clearly and prescriptively to your people on how to navigate the situation.
While moving quickly to enable remote workers to respond to COVID-19 is very important, you cannot do so in a way that puts your business at risk of a security breach. This means rapidly addressing your security protocols and solutions to enable the expansion of remote connectivity, including:
While Covid-19 is serving as the catalyst for an immediate implementation of an elastic digital workplace, the crisis will fundamentally alter how we work and engage. A comprehensive implementation plan will enable companies to quickly scale and dynamically adapt to changing business needs based on global and local conditions.