Relying on Data to Return to Site

The new normal requires us to depend on technology more than ever before. For work, most of us are still working remotely at home or practising social distancing in the office. Organisations are making the best arrangements they can to ensure their employees remain productive with minimal disruption to productivity.

Despite this, recovering from the pandemic is no easy task for businesses. They need to not only ensure their premises are safe but also ensure their employees are well enough to return back to work. At the same time, businesses also need to ensure their offices can cater to the new regulations set by governments around the world.

While certain countries have allowed employees to return to the office for work, many organisations are still having employees work remotely. Simply because these companies realise that remote working employees can produce more output than employees at work. Given the time taken to commute to work, lunch breaks and long physical meetings, remote work has altered the whole work-life balance.

For Dell Technologies, the health and safety of their team was a priority. According to Amit Midha, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Global Digital Cities for Dell Technologies, the tech giant has a three-part phased approach to returning to a site, considering each facility's capacity, local government regulations and their own data science and risk model to determine safety and readiness to return to and remain on-site and prioritising team members' roles that have a need to be on-site.

“Employees need to be resilient no matter what the challenges are in remote working. Indeed, there will be new types of challenges and stress that will arise and Dell is committed to creating the best system to support both employees and customers to make sure society moves forward”, said Amit during a virtual media briefing with journalists.

John Scimone, Senior Vice President, Chief Security Office, Dell Technologies, who was also in the briefing, explained how Dell is utilising a data-driven approach to determine the feasibility of employees returning to work based on each country. The real-time dashboard called the Inversed Risk Matrix makes sense of the multitude of data about the virus available to safely and responsibly guide their return to work. He added that the matrix uses the best available data from credible sources such as Johns Hopkins, Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organisation.

“Our data scientists, in collaboration with medical professionals, built the tool to help us make sense of all the health data such as the number of infections, hospitalisations, curve inclination and so on, to make informed decisions that put the health and safety of our team members and communities first. We use a total of 15 different variables, all weighted appropriately, to calculate the overall risk score across 188 countries and 115 provinces/states where we operate”, explained John.

He also said the data is automatically refreshed and is checked multiple times a day. The key takeaway is this tool allows the company to apply a consistent, data-driven approach to their return to work globally, with the health and safety of team members and communities the top priority. The Inverse Risk Matrix model is also available to Dell’s customers who want to use a similar solution to assess the availability of their employees to return to work.

Apart from that, both John and Amit highlighted how Dell is helping organisations around the world in building their resilience towards the new normal. These included creating virtualised environments for a very large life science company in India, helping one of the largest banks in Asia address their remote workers and helping a border control organisation with replacing legacy devices for remote working.

Creating New Opportunities
While some organisations could afford to have employees working remotely, not all industries could practice this. Some of the hardest-hit industries from the pandemic included the travel and tourism industries. For these industries, John said these organisations have to put their data to use for a better outcome.

“Not all companies can reach 90% of remote workers. Some organisations can’t even reach 50%. It’s more about creating policies on this if their job allows it. Regardless if employees are in the office or not in the office, the development in tech is about reducing the work burden of commodity work whereby employees use their thinking skills more in solving problems and augmenting a solution”, said John.

He added that some physical work can be automated and augmented using technology. Businesses need to focus on areas where they need to boost productivity.

“Every industry has a part of the role that can be done remotely. There should be more flexibility for others. Non-remote roles require a new policy. For example, edge screening to create a safer work environment. Also, businesses will need a new set of infrastructures that would help in time to come. These organisations have to make sure they have the right tech infrastructure to keep them safe and confidence in a system so that employees and visitors feel safe when they come”, added Amit.

Both Amit and John concluded that while the demand for technology and remote work devices is increasing, there is still a long way to go before remote working becomes mainstream. One thing for sure is that businesses realise that is the way forward and are increasing their level of commitment towards workforce transformation.

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