How CXOs are making employees and organisations competitive using technology during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much in the world, including how people work. Today, in roles where it is possible, employees are working from home. Before Covid-19, from time to time, businesses allowed some workers to work from home. Today, every worker who can work from home is doing so.

Work from home has sprung several pleasant surprises. Businesses have found that a significant portion of their workforce can work productively from home. Until recently, these were uncharted waters. Few businesses had ever asked the majority of their workers to work from home. Now that the majority of many companies employees are working from home, companies have found that employee productivity doesn’t necessarily suffer when its workforce works remotely. Workers have adapted well to work from home culture. But while the transition to a work from home culture has not been tough, it has sprung several challenges. CXOs are using the following measures and technologies to deal with these challenges and keeping their organisations competitive.

Keeping data secure

Every business has valuable data that needs to be kept secure. To keep data safe companies follow safety measures. Such safety measures work best when workers work from an office. In an office, data is safe because workplace infrastructure is built from the ground up with the understanding that information needs to be kept secure. A home-based network does not have the robust safety measures systems in offices have. An employee who is working from home can be given access to his or her employer’s private network, yet data on such a network can fall into the wrong hands.

For CXOs, this presents a challenge. As long as workers were working from an office, CXOs had less reason to worry about data security. Now that a massive number of workers are working from home, the need to keep data secure has become paramount. In India, many organisations don’t have the requisite security umbrella around their servers to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands.

Concerns about data security have led CXOs to think beyond rudimentary measures like firewalls and anti-virus and anti-malware software. Many are recruiting cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers to discover whether there are any chinks in their networks’ security armour. Such experts and hackers do their best to hack a company’s system. When they succeed, the company knows where it is vulnerable. By understanding where it is susceptible, firms improve their system by making it securer. Since employees have been working from home, there has been a surge in the number of cybersecurity experts being hired by firms.

Giving an impetus to digital transformation

Another way CXOs are making organisations more competitive is by adopting a more significant number of digital technologies. Before COVID-19 made work from home commonplace, businesses were adopting digital technologies in a piecemeal manner. From time to time, a few services were brought online. Since the pandemic, a considerable number of businesses have accelerated their digitisation efforts. More companies than ever before are storing data on the cloud. Businesses are doing in weeks and months, what otherwise would have taken years. Also, at a time when online traffic to most firms’ servers has increased dramatically, many businesses are upgrading their servers so they can meet a more significant number of requests.

Keeping employees productive

When employees work from home, tracking their productivity becomes a challenge. Ostensibly, workers productivity hasn’t suffered while they have been working from home. However, many CXOs have discovered that employees are burning out faster when they work from home. Most employees have little to do besides work. Hence they are working longer hours than they did when they come to the office. While on the surface, this seems to benefit employers, the result of such overwork is that employees are burning out.

To eliminate employee burnout and strike an optimum work-life balance, many CXOs are making it mandatory for workers to work a fixed number of hours. For instance, workers who log in at 9 am are being asked to log out at 6 pm. With such fixed timings in place, fewer employees overwork themselves.

The COVID-19 pandemic has come out of the blue to change how business is done. It has led to enterprises exploring new ways of working. Firms have taken to hiring security experts to keep their company’s data safe. They are also adopting digital technologies at a much faster rate. Technologies that many firms expected to adopt over years are being utilised in weeks. Finally, firms are keeping a closer watch on their employees. While they want workers to remain productive, they are putting measures in place that prevent employees from burning out.

By Jai Ballani, Managing Partner – Technology Practice, Executive Access

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