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COVID pandemic has created an unprecedented level of disruption among enterprises. The sheer nature of the event has pressed the reset button on many traditional practices. For instance, the majority of employees around the world are currently working from home (WFH). Given the uncertainty around the pandemic, global firms such as Facebook and Google have extended WFH provisions for their staffers. In this perspective, as the businesses across the world adapt to this new normal, various changes are likely to stay forever in the post COVID world.

New ways of doing things with deep tech integration

With the spread of the pandemic, enterprises across the world have to adapt to the WFH model quite abruptly. As a consequence, organisations operating in the services sector such as software services companies, business process management (BPM) service providers, and advertisement & public relations agencies among others have to bring in changes in their processes to serve clients. Moreover, a paradigm shift has happened in the personal lives of staffers as the office has come home with the WFH model.

From keeping the lights on for global clients to crisis management, service providers have integrated technology seamlessly to provide a round-the-clock support environment. For instance, conferencing tools such as Microsoft Team, CISCO Webex, Zoom, and Google Meet are in vogue to enable virtual meetings, replacing face to face interactions with both employees and clients. Similarly, various productivity gauging applications like Hubstaff, RescueTime, Harvest, Upwork among others are being widely used by employers. As data breach has emerged as one of the risk areas, enterprises are using VPN (virtual private network) for secure communication between staffers and clients. As service providers usually generate their revenues through many project-based engagements, leaders of many organisations are using various project management tools such as Basecamp, ClickUp and TeamWork among others for effective delivery when the team is working from remote locations. Apart from such technological interventions, even organisations have tweaked many HR (human resources) policies related to leave, handling of client information, and compensation components relating to travel and other general expenses among others.

Star Squared PR, one of the leading public relations agencies of India with a marque client base, also imbibed the transition to WFH operating model swiftly after the government-imposed lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic. With effective and continuous communication, client servicing and productivity of team members remained at the optimal level despite the COVID-induced disruption.

“In order to cope with the situation, we have streamlined our processes to ensure our client work does not get affected. We also developed fresh protocols for reporting and brainstorming to ensure there is no dip in our creativity when it comes to client counsel. We used this opportunity to develop new training modules to keep the teams engaged, energized, and motivated at all times,” said Priyan DC, CEO of Star Squared PR. According to the chief executive of the leading PR firm, the pandemic has taught everyone a lot of things including the fact that we are resilient and will adapt and succeed despite the odds.

What does the future hold?

It is difficult to predict how the future will pan out, but a recent Gartner survey reveals that more than 70 per cent of employers are likely to shift some of their employees to WFH mode permanently. “The new normal is hard to predict but will include social distancing for a long time to come, along with flexible working hours factoring in a lot more work from home,” Priyan said.

Also, faster digitisation among enterprises is likely to raise the pace of migration to the cloud with around 10 per cent rise in client spend next year, according to HFS Research. Businesses are also likely to prefer digital channels over traditional print and electronic routes in the coming days. Meanwhile, remote operating models may lead to the availability of a larger talent pool with increased utilisation of gig workers along with higher participation of women and workers from small cities, according to a Teamlease study. What is in store is hard to say but the pandemic has brought in many new perspectives on work and life, which will influence human civilization in a bigger way in the coming years.