It has been six long months since the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in the United States. Since then, the virus has swept across the nation and around the world; schools in the U.S. closed in early spring, businesses soon followed, millions were furloughed or laid off (losing health coverage in the process) and the economy for all intents and purposes shut down.
It was always imperative to get the economy going again; however, it has been difficult and the country continues to be caught in the claws of a virus that spreads far too easily in crowds, nursing homes, and other locations where people congregate without social distancing or mask-wearing.
This is very troubling for companies that are anxious to get back on their feet. How can they begin to return to normal operations safely? What do they need to do to ensure the well-being of their employees? In fact, what can they do to instill confidence in their staff that they will be safe from exposure when they come back to work?
There is no short or simple answer – but there are steps that can be taken, using technology, that can provide a solid plan and allay a lot of the fear surrounding a return to work.
Remote Work Not For Everyone
Certainly one of the positive aspects of the pandemic has been the realization that many businesses can survive and even thrive with staff working from home. This wouldn’t have been possible just 15 years ago because the technologies to allow remote work simply didn’t exist then. They exist now and companies have been quick to put digital technology to use.
Remote work has proved so successful that this is a social change that may become permanent, even after the pandemic is finally defeated or, at least, corralled.
However, it’s also clear that not all firms can operate with a remote workforce; many companies, like manufacturing operations, for example, rely on employees being physically present to function.
Again, technology plays a tremendous role; yes, robotics has its part but the key to bringing a workforce back on-premises is utilizing digital technology to help organize, monitor, and schedule staff in ways that will keep them safe and, more importantly, feeling secure.
When the coronavirus exploded into a global pandemic and economies imploded around the world, Salesforce began to create strategies that would allow companies to get back to work safely. Given that many people are demonstrating a lack of genuine awareness and caution around how to interact safely, it’s incumbent on employers to put the necessary measures in place for them, or else risk outbreaks in the workplace that will lead to further shutdowns.
Salesforce has taken its world-leading CRM platform and adapted it for the situation at hand. Called Work.com, the software solution allows employers to:
• Monitor return-to-work readiness
• Assess the health of employees
• Create and manage safe shift schedules
• Conduct manual contact tracing, one of the keys to controlling the virus, through daily employee surveys on mobile devices
• Provide emergency response capabilities for public sector organizations
The software’s built-in Einstein Analytics means that an organization’s data can be analyzed, generating prediction-based assessments, possible solutions, or warnings and alerts.
This platform gives all organizations the means to see a clear and safe path forward.
Industry-Specific Solutions From Gerent
Gerent is playing its part in a major way, as well. As long-time Salesforce consultants and implementation specialists, Gerent has built a series of extensions to the Work.com platform.
While Work.com is a set of tools that all businesses and organizations can adapt, Gerent’s solutions are designed to be more industry-specific and cast a wider health net.
The company has designed extensions that focus on three main areas – manufacturing, education, and healthcare – by expanding contact tracing to include the households where employees, students, and health workers reside. At the same time, using Tableau technology, Gerent is providing an extensive resource center linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and updated automatically on a daily basis as information changes. Our company has also added a health compliance tracker to its CDC extension.
Gerent’s extensions can become permanent features in companies since the solutions are not designed just for Covid-19 use. Long after the virus is contained, Gerent’s technology can be used to monitor overall employee health which will go a long way to controlling a major expense for employers: group healthcare costs. Being able to show a group health insurance provider solid, analyzed data on the overall wellbeing and health of a workforce means that the employer can demonstrate a valid argument for retaining or even reducing monthly premiums.
We will be going into further detail on how Gerent’s solutions within Work.com can provide significant benefits to companies, educational institutions, and the healthcare sector on this site in the near future.
Suffice it to say, digital technology continues to demonstrate strength and flexibility in providing real solutions to real problems through new ways to apply elements like data analytics, artificial intelligence, and ERP/CRM integrations. Technology solutions will only evolve to become even better and more essential in dealing with future crises when they arise. And, alas, they will.