Home / Companies / News /  Tech helps companies shift massive workforce to WFH

Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink work arrangements, with virtual engagement bringing about a change in work environments and, in certain cases, blurring the thin line between personal and private life.

As professionals struggle to segregate work and home life, to steer clear of distractions and keeping their morale high amid a surging pandemic, organizations had to be quick on their feet to leverage technology and optimize employee engagement and manage consumer expectations.

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“We have about 150,000 employees and everyone was taken by surprise when they were asked to work from home, but we were ready the next day and invoking back-end plans and investing heavily into technology," said Susheel Shanbagh, vice president, information technology, HDFC Bank, speaking at the Mint and Tata Communications panel discussion, Virtual workplace 2.0.

During the discussion, the panellists looked at enabling boundary-less office spaces of the future that use the right set of digital tools to create seamless work environments.

For the massive shift to a virtual workspace from a traditional office setup, companies had to procure laptops for all employees and move applications to the cloud almost overnight. Organizations also had to come up with innovative solutions to ensure productivity.

“We have over 300,000 people globally and, almost overnight, 96% of these people shifted to work from home. A lot of planning went into this even before the lockdown. Many Indian clients whom we service, worked very innovatively and tried various things to make remote work possible," said Jatin Meswani, client unit leader, west, infrastructure services (ISA), IBM.

Considering that employees had moved back to their home-towns in semi-urban and rural areas, where internet access was weak, it posed challenges in network connectivity. A major challenge was to manage costs, while ensuring rapid adaptation and capacity expansion of virtual private networks and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

“The idea was to improve performance whatever be the connection. Data itself is TCP data and if there is some way to compress it and use it as voice, which is much leaner, it becomes a lot more efficient. That’s what we tried to look at with VDI connections. For instance, every IP-TCP packet is at 1,500 bytes and it gets compressed to less than 70-80 bytes with voice," said Hari Nair, vice president, solution, technical specialist, Tata Communications.

“A digital platform for business needs to be agile. It must address the right kind of customers and create a competitive advantage and, finally, you have to have security as a core element," added Nair.

Organizations also had to ensure an environment where customer experience and trust were not compromised.

“The market trends have changed. Pre-covid, we were working on enhancing customer experience and working on product innovations. Post-covid we are boosting customer trust and working on our core areas. In these tough times, analytics played an important role in finding out what the customer wants and for targeting the right product to customers," said Siddharth Saxena, VP, IT, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

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