If you own a business, you might be getting antsy and longing to reopen the workplace. Employees who have been dealing with Zoom calls in a house full of kids during the pandemic might also prefer having the office open for business as usual.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you will have to adjust things at work to adapt to the new normal. As businesses open back up after a long hiatus, they need to follow proper guidelines to protect themselves and those who work there. Companies need to prioritize the health and well-being of their employees.
At the same time, they have to figure out a way forward that will allow the business to grow and thrive in these uncertain times. Integration through APIs has already proven to be a lifesaver during the pandemic as they connected data and allowed businesses to implement new and improved technological capabilities. In other words, integration helped businesses function as normally as possible even when everyone was working from home.
In the light of reopening workplaces, here are 4 steps that you should take when restarting operations at the office:
1. Implement Contactless Interactions
As we navigate our way through the pandemic, one thing has become clear: social distancing saves lives. Contactless operations have become the norm over the last 6 months and both businesses and customers need to adjust to this as businesses begin to reopen.
Also, customers are actively seeking out ways to reduce contact and exposure to the virus when dealing with businesses. Providing contactless interactions with customers, clients, and third-party organizations will need an innovative, large-scale integration of systems and applications to fill operational gaps.
To keep your customer-base secure you and your IT teams need to deliver on these expectations. This will show your customers that their safety is your priority. If you take an API-led approach to integration, you will be able to launch new initiatives much more quickly. This will also give developers the stepping stones they need to continue to quickly respond to shifts in customer needs based on health.
2. Strengthen Your IT Infrastructure to Handle the Next Big Crisis
COVID-19 caught the world and every sector of business off guard but it doesn’t have to be that way the next time. Businesses can take certain measures to mold their infrastructure and strengthen its core, practices, and processes. This will make sure they can handle major crises without much difficulty.
You can construct a more resilient infrastructure by decentralizing application ownership while having your main IT team still manage security and governance. With an API-led approach to both your infrastructure and integration management, you can easily carry this out.
Your contemporary IT infrastructure must be interconnected. In other words, you must allow other components in the business to use bits of data and functionality they need from your central IT infrastructure to create new experiences. You also need to have the component pieces of your IT infrastructure as composable APIs, so that your IT teams can quickly build and deploy new applications and services.
3. Use Data to Keep In-Person Employees Safe
Connecting data and systems to create a comprehensive visual picture of your organization is the key to both stabilizing your business and monitoring the health of your employees. As businesses prepare to reopen their doors, they have to consider the risks for their customers and employees and implement safety measures.
Firstly, companies must comply with local and state laws regarding masks, social distancing, and hand-washing. Also, high-risk employees must be protected at all costs, even letting them work after the workplace has reopened. Moreover, the business needs to make data-driven decisions to ensure employee, customer, and public safety.
Employees should have a voice in these decisions so that they feel safe and comfortable in their workplace. Once decisions are made and policies are created, they should be clear and carried out to protect the business and the general public.
4. Make Use of Contact-Tracing
It is almost inevitable that an employee will get infected. In that case, identifying the carrier and containing the spread of the virus is imperative. Because of this, you must have a protocol for quick and efficient contact tracing.
To do so, your business should take an API-led approach and integrate HR, employee data, and benefits, as well as all sorts of health-related systems. Employees with the virus should be encouraged to report their condition through a contact tracing application. Use an efficient communications system to alert the rest of your staff about the next steps they must take.
These steps must be taken with a degree of sensitivity and prioritizing an affected employees’ health and privacy concerns. Consent is important and manual contact tracing will ensure that privacy is maintained.
IT heads have the opportunity to orchestrate the reopening stage of businesses and make sure things run smoothly during these tempestuous times. Reopening the workplace after the pandemic can be done safely and these practices can be carried over to become the new normal, allowing businesses to adjust more quickly next time a major crisis strikes the world.