Invest in tools that help extend collaboration, innovation-focused conversations: Aftab Ullah, Brillio

Brillio has been focused on delivering design-led solutions for customers. As a digitally native company, everything it has done and will continue to do, will have laser focus. Here, Aftab Ullah, Chief Operating and Delivery Officer, Brillio, tells us about the future of work. Excerpts from an interview:

BrillioDQI Bureau | DATAQUEST

DQ: How are you dealing with the Covid-19 situation? What plans have you put in place?

Aftab Ullah: We have introduced a new function called the Office of Virtual Proximity, which focuses on creating an empathetic virtual work environment allowing members of the Brillio family and its customers to collaborate, stay productive, engaged and responsible.

Through the initiative, we have seen an increase of 10% in our workforce productivity and 20% in our people engagement. Brillio enables access to the right resources such as reputed and authorised telemedicine providers and counselling support services for each employee. Recognizing the need for community connections and relaxation of our employees we’re also organizing various initiatives such as virtual workouts, movie clubs, virtual team happy hours, and virtual stand-up comedy sessions.

Our globally available learning platform Brillio Academy supports regular self-driven up-skilling opportunities that keep people one-step ahead of the next project and has been a very big part of why we have been able to keep our workforce full engaged through this crisis. Our Office of Virtual Proximity regularly seeks feedback from employees and customers, allowing it to continuously tweak our approach to what we call “Brillio One, WFx Work from Anywhere”.

As we look at the weeks and months ahead, we are fully geared to support a “hybrid” work environment, one in which teams are regularly rotating between office and work-from-home on a 30-70 basis. This will strengthen team bonds and allow us to on-board new Brillio family members while continuing to benefit from the safety and efficiency of working from home.

DQ: How does work/life balance work in a crisis like this?

Aftab Ullah: There has been a sudden and rapid shift in how we all work—from mostly co-located teams to completely distributed virtual teams. Such rapid shifts, not only at work, but also on the personal front, are bound to bring challenges. At Brillio, we recognize that this is going to be the ‘new normal’ and we’re deeply focused on ensuring our teams get the best support to not only navigate the situation, but also thrive.

At Brillio, we believe thriving in a Remote at Scale model has three key pillars –

Daily working agreements: There are 5 working agreements in play, which glue virtual teams together— Customer engagement through virtual ceremonies, Outcome based project and team governance, Regular virtual communication and connects, Virtual Scrum playbooks, Enabling teams with personal productivity hacks

Day in the life rituals: A broad based ‘Day in the Life of’ calendar for distributed and remote Agile Squads that helps teams have better control of their time and allows them space to maintain work-life balance in the best possible way. All ceremonies, rituals that help keep teams together in a co-located set-up happen leveraging remote infrastructure and virtual tooling (think—daily stand-ups/scrum meetings, team coffee sessions, team birthday celebrations, etc.)

Having the right tools – Lastly, it is important to invest in the right tools that enable the work agreements and rituals.

DQ: How are the latest technologies going to redefine workplace?

Aftab Ullah: At Brillio, we believe technology and the right tools will be the key to ensuring productivity & collaboration in a hybrid operating model. As part of our Work from Anywhere (WFx) framework, in addition to the right technology infrastructure (laptops, connectivity, security), we’ve invested in tools that can help extend and enable collaboration and innovation-focused conversations. For example, we have tools such as – digital whiteboards, artefacts sharing, virtual collaboration, agile-lifecycle collaboration.

We believe the core workspace itself is also evolving. Many organizations already have the tools to allow employees to work from home seamlessly using varied productivity tools. However, the current situation has exposed several gaps. Now, there is a need for operational and engineering teams to remotely too, requiring more than just office productivity and collaboration tools. So, systems that are dependent on a certain type of physical hardware cannot be taken home to work.

To help our customer get ready for this new normal, Brillio has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to take Amazon Workspace to them. With this partnership we aim to provide access to high performance cloud desktops wherever our customers’ teams need to get work done.

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