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How to leverage SAP & Qualtrics for creating a workspace policy for employees during COVID?

COVID-19 has disrupted many businesses, especially with widespread infections and lockdowns worldwide; operational challenges have been massive. More enterprises need a hybrid approach to their workspace to merge remote capabilities with on-site operations.

While some businesses can go all out remotely, it is not an ideal situation for every domain, and that is why the hybrid approach has gained popularity.

According to an EY survey, 70% of organizations have suffered from a decline in productivity, pushing them to adopt remote working. At the same time, 70% of businesses are also thinking of shifting their entire recruitment to virtual methods with technologies like Artificial Intelligence(AI), Machine Learning(ML), and RPA(Robotic Process Automation).

A hybrid approach can help integrate such automation virtually and also include on-site capabilities. However, organizations need reliable workspace policies to counter the problem of COVID-19 infections. As much as many organizations would prefer to have their employees back at the office, there have been numerous deaths during successive waves of COVID-19 infection surges, leading to enterprises rethinking the entire remote approach.

In 2021 and beyond it’s not just about productivity anymore: losing employees to COVID-19 due to deaths and fear of workplace infection is also hurting businesses. Businesses need solutions that can help them create practical workspace policies ensuring healthy employee environments. Before exploring solutions like SAP and Qualtrics for employee engagement to develop an effective workspace policy, let’s briefly cover how workplaces can help protect their employees from COVID-19 infections!

How do COVID19 infections happen?

COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2020 and has since spread worldwide. Current research has determined three ways in which the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus spreads COVID-19 infections.

  1. Droplet Spray

COVID-19 can spread through the transmission of respiratory droplets expelled by infected persons through exhalation, coughing, sneezing, yelling, and talking. These droplets are larger than 5 microns in diameter and rapidly fall from the air within seconds onto surfaces. If any other person inhales these particles, they can become infected. Infections are typically detected four to seven days after contact.

  1. Direct/Indirect Contact 

Direct contact occurs due to inhalation of the virus or penetration of the virus into mucous membranes through physical contact with an infected person or in a shared space that is not properly ventilated. Indirect communication is related to droplets falling on the surface that a healthy person interacts with through touch or contact with other shared surfaces, allowing the virus to infect their body.

  1. Aerosol Transmission

Studies of COVID-19 transmission now profoundly emphasize the primacy of aerosol transmission of the COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 corona virus. An April 2021 Lancet report suggests that there is strong evidence of airborne transmission of the SARS COV-2 virus.

As an organization, understanding COVID-19 transmission is essential for your workspace policies and procedures. This enables you to understand the Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) issued by public health authorities in the context of the spread of the virus.

Now that you know how COVID-19 transmission works, let’s cover how SAP and Qualtrics can help with employee engagement.

How SAP & Qualtrics Power Employee Engagement For COVID-related Workspace Policies 

SAP and Qualtrics are ERP-based employee engagement tools that you can use to communicate, engage, and regulate your workforce during the COVID-19pandemic scenario. As an organization, you need to plan the entire workforce management process to ensure higher availability and productivity as well as avoid COVID infections.

There are five different areas of the workforce that you should manage during these operations in a hybrid approach:

  1. Remote workforce
  2. Workforce returning to work on-site full time
  3. Workforce that works both remotely and on-site
  4. Workforce that shares living space
  5. Workforce with sick family members

Let’s discuss each section and how SAP helps them engage in a COVID-free workspace.

1. Remote Workforce

One of the most critical factors is tracking and tracing every remote employee’s symptoms and creating a contingency plan to account for productivity decreases or absences. This can help your organization keep production downtime to a minimum by minimizing the unavailability of the workforce.

Qualtrics is an excellent solution to track and trace employees through cloud-based tools. Integrating Qualtrics with ERP-based SAP software can help organizations track symptoms of employees remotely and track their overall health to anticipate illness and resulting work impacts.

2. Workforce Returning to Work

Remote employees are largely unaffected by changes in workspace policies. At the same time, a workforce returning to the office needs a thorough understanding of workspace policies. Here, an ERP-based chatbot can help your organization convey the policies effectively to your workforce.

Above is aa diagram of an example of a chatbot design based on SAP and Qualtrics cloud solutions. The chatbot has a two-way communication channel allowing your employees to access a survey and express their concerns as well as provide reviews and other feedback regarding the workspace policy.

The survey form has many vital questions that will provide your organization with data to help with tracking, tracing, and monitoring the employee’s health. It is a FAQ document that will have questions like:

  • Should I wear a mask when returning to work?
  • What are the SOPs I need to follow while at work?
  • Should I fly for a business deal?
  • How often is the office sanitized?
  • What is the SOP in case of any symptoms?

3. Workforce That Works Both Remotely and On-site

For a workforce that needs to be physically present at the office on alternating days or during only certain days in a week, SAP RPA can be a great option.

Take the simple use case of a chatbot that can automate repetitive work by applying custom UI designs on the web pages. A chatbot can be designed to create input forms, custom pages, and app bars. Employing a conversational assistant chatbot can be great for executing enhanced workflows remotely through real-time interactions with designers. You can create an RPA software for each workflow that powers the execution of custom UI designs.

Such RPA software can help reduce the physical presence needed in the workplace from two days a week to few hours, helping decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The rest of the design aspect can be executed by UI designers remotely from the safety of their homes.

4. Workforce that Shares Living Space

There should be separate workspace policies for returning to the office from a space that they share with other people.

As organizations can track their employee’s health but not that of their roommates, there must be special provisions. Organizations can enable remote features in the ERP-based chatbot to help such employees access immediate medical consultations and telemedicine in cases where employees may be concerned about infection spread by those living in close contact with them.

5. Workforce with Sick Family Members

Instant access to expert medical advice and virtual consultations through your organization’s ERP app can be a great help for employees that are caretakers to members of their own families. This will help your workforce deal with personal health situations in their own lives while allowing your organization to improve its brand value through positive, constructive workplace healthcare access tools.

Apart from these benefits, SAP and Qualtrics can also help businesses create unique workspaces where on-site and remote workforce can interact. This can create an ecosystem for the hybrid workforce that will ensure a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission as well as higher productivity.

Conclusion

This blog has focused on ways in which businesses can improve employee engagement, design new workspace policies, and track workforce health through innovative ERP-based solutions. Most importantly, it offers practical solutions to every section of the company’s workforce working remotely or returning to the office.

The use of AI-based robots or RPAs with integrated SAP tools can be excellent for many enterprises and organizations dealing with a higher absence of workforce or loss of employees due to COVID-19 spread.

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