The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely far-reaching. As cities across the world went under complete lockdown, businesses had to take some very swift decisions to ensure business continuity. They had to update their continuity plan, strengthen their security posture, embrace cloud tools and technologies to support remote access, and implement a robust work-from-home strategy. All this to ensure that the employees can carry out their day-to-day tasks from the safety of their homes.
As the pandemic started showing its impact on every business, we, at Wissen, also started to work on our business contingency plan – so we could continue to support our employees, our community, and the customers we serve. With COVID-19 cases gradually increasing in different parts of India, we took the following bold steps to ensure business continuity during the lockdown:
- Travel: One of the first steps countries took to curb the spread of the virus was to place a ban on national and international travel. At Wissen, we followed the same route to prevent the virus from getting significantly embedded within the population and avoid far more severe consequences. We requested our employees to avoid international and domestic travel – unless requested by their Managers or Client. Through such travel restrictions, we helped safeguard the health of our employees as well as to curb the spread of the virus.
- Work-from-home test: The COVID-19 pandemic brought the work-from-home model into the spotlight. As cities were locked down, organizations had no choice but to set up a robust remote work environment, so employees could work seamlessly from their homes. However, not every home environment is conducive to remote working. To understand how efficiently employees could work from their homes, we urged our employees to undergo a complete work-from-home test one week before the announcement of the lockdown to ensure work can be done without business impact. The test required employees to ensure that they:
- Have good-quality internet connectivity
- Have access to communication (phone/WebEx etc.) to coordinate with their team
- Report to their manager at Wissen as well as to the client manager – on a day-to-day basis
- Hardware: After employees took the work-from-home test, a lot of them back saying they don’t have the required hardware to perform seamless remote working. To ensure such employees have all they need to do their jobs, we provided them with the required hardware, including keyboards, monitors, mouse, cables, laptops, chargers, and CPUs. Some of our employees also volunteered to deliver the goods to other employees.
- Hygiene: The COVID-19 outbreak also brought hygiene to the fore. As soon as the number of cases started to escalate across the world, the World Health Organization issued several hygiene advisories that included frequent washing of hands and sanitization of public and office spaces. At Wissen, we took the required measures to ensure and maintain good hygiene levels. Here are some steps we took:
- Ensured all desks are sanitized daily and made it compulsory for employees to sanitize their hands while entering the office
- Requested employees to wash their hands often
- Avoided mass events or conference meetings
- Restricted visitors from coming to office; they were requested to have WebEx calls instead
- Day-to-day working: Day-to-day working also took a massive beating in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As lockdown rules became stringent, employees at the office, at client locations, or working remotely were all required to suddenly work from their respective homes. At Wissen, we took all necessary measures to ensure our work-from-home employees could continue to contribute to the goals of the organization – without interruption.
- On client site: We requested our engineers on the client-side to follow client policy for WFH (100%) and inform client managers on a regular basis – as per their policy.
- Offshore: We urged our offshore employees to undergo the work-from-home test and ensure they have all the tools they needed to work effectively.
- Work-from-home: While working from home, employees were required to send emails to their managers and HR partners, mentioning the tasks they will be taking up during the day and join daily scrum meetings with their teams.
- Recruitment drives: During the lockdown, we canceled all in-office recruitment drives and instead took the virtual route. All our interviews were conducted – either telephonically, through Skype, Webex or using Hangout.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire world to a screeching halt. But even as cities across India were gradually locked down, our responsibility towards our employees and commitment to our partners and customers was unscathed.
When we spoke to our clients for their feedback, they were all praises for the Wissen team. Despite working from different locations all over the world, the team continues to do high-quality work and deliver the business impact to our customers. Kudos to Wissenites!