Amid COVID-19 lockdown measures, companies must accelerate their transition to a remote workplace. Six key factors that can accelerate adoption and optimize virtual collaboration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses hard. In many countries, all but essential services have been compelled to close. In yesterday’s post, I described the six dimensions identified by Accenture’s Elastic Digital Workplace roadmap that have proven effective in quickly transitioning to a remote workplace environment. Let’s take a closer look. 

New workplace practices for an Elastic Digital Workplace  

Three key areas I think its critical to take note of are culture and adoption, collaboration (within the workforce as well as with partners, suppliers and customers), and ensuring key infrastructure is in place—i.e., seamless networking. 

CULTURE AND ADOPTION  

At Accenture, we are accustomed to a highly distributed and cloud-based way of working. We rely on Microsoft 365 to create, connect and collaborate and we have a staff of highly-trained digital workplace adoption professionals who train people how to work effectively in remote environments. 

There are three main aspects to driving adoption: 

  • Radical transparency—embrace a truly human approach: Prepare your leaders to be empathetic and available to their teams and accelerate adoption through a change champion network.  
  • Cloud first: Move away from working on local versions of data and documents by adopting cloud-based applications and storage 
  • Optimize for remote working right now: Recommend best practices for an effective workspace at home, including ergonomics, reduction in distractions, and local network settings to provide the best employee experience.  

ELASTIC COLLABORATION 

Elastic Collaboration requires a rapid, and in some cases, exponential expansion of your current collaboration capabilities. With more employees working remotely, collaboration tools must immediately handle an increase in volume and load while also improving usability and productivity. 

Actions to take immediately include:  

  • Adopt and measure collaboration: Starting today, expand the existing footprint of collaboration and communication capabilities to provide large-scale employee coverage. Enable SaaS-based solutions, push collaboration applications to employees who currently lack them, and launch an employee education campaign. 
  • Cross business enablement: Identify key business-to-business contacts and relationships across your ecosystem. In the next 24-48 hours, assess current virtual meeting capabilities (web conferencing, video services) and deploy a pilot of video and messaging bridging services (e.g., Pexip, Blue Jeans) for seamless interaction with partners, suppliers, and customers. Create integrated communications and training materials to enable business users to adopt the shift in work style. 

SEAMLESS NETWORKING 

Working productively from home or other remote locations requires seamless, secure, and reliable network connectivity to corporate networks, cloud assets, and to strategic partners.  

Over the first week, implement the following:  

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) capacity: Rapidly compliment your traditional VPN technology with new cloud remote access solutions that will improve remote worker experience, performance, and security while alleviating capacity risks on your legacy VPN solution. At the same time, confirm your capacity on traditional remote access technologies, such as VPN concentrators, Next Generation Layer 7 Firewalls, and circuits.  
  • Remote and home networking: Provide clear and prescriptive guidance to employees about broadband connectivity options and packages in their home locations. Consider subsidizing higher bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS) solutions. As most network issues start at home, provide guidance to employees on the best home network solutions and setup—tell them how to configure the solutions to prioritize voice, video, and collaboration traffic, and help them troubleshoot issues.  
  • Partner connectivity: Establish a SWAT team to quickly provide, or to expand, business-tobusiness connectivity solutions to strategic partners. 

I hope you have found this series of posts useful. 

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented global crisis for people and businesses. An effective response now can help you protect your people, customers and your business. Stay safe. 

For more on creating an Elastic Digital Workforce click here. If you need assistance ramping up your COVID-19 workforce response, please get in touch with me—Accenture has a rapid enablement offering that can help your organization become more productive rapidly. 

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