New Delhi: As the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly across the world, more and more companies are embracing the work from home option for business continuity.
While Twitter has taken the “unprecedented step” of making work from home mandatory, e-commerce major Flipkart has encouraged young parents in Bengaluru to work remotely.
But are all organisations ready to embrace the work from the home culture in view of the growing restrictions due to the spread of the virus?
Obviously not, especially those organisations whose nature of business demands a lot of travel and face to face interactions. An Ola or Uber driver would hardly be able to make money by sitting at home.
The availability of advanced digital tools, however, allow a large number of organisations to implement work from home – if they plan well.
Flipkart, for example said that it is checking system preparedness for working remotely using digital/video tools.
“We are promoting the use of video conferences for meetings, including job interviews, and are temporarily avoiding events and training programmes that require large gatherings as a precautionary measure,” the e-commerce major said in a statement.
Some companies have even started mock drills to test their work from home capabilities.
Examples are fintech company Zeta and messaging and collaboration tool Flock.
Among the measures announced by the two companies include virtual onboarding for outstation candidates and virtual interviewing and hiring to the extent possible with digitisation of some of their processes including signing of employment contract, educational and awareness sessions on health and fitness through online mediums to ensure their health is not compromised even as they work from home, said Bhavin Turakhia, Founder and CEO at Flock and Co-founder and CEO at ZETA.
As a result of the measures introduced with the aim of restricting travel and face-to-face interaction in the face of dangers due to coronavirus, the demand for video-conferencing tools has gone up in India.
Networking giant Cisco said that it has seen “significant growth” in the usage of its web conferencing and video-conferencing service Webex in India.
“Cisco has always prioritised the enablement of people to work from anywhere, anytime, and on any device so they stay connected with their teams and can continue their business operations.
“Since the outbreak began, there has been a 22x increase of traffic on the Webex backbone connecting China-based Webex users to their global workplaces. Significant growth in the usage of Webex in India has also been observed,” Cisco said in a statement shared with IANS.
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, Cisco has expanded the capabilities on its free Webex offer in all countries where it is available.
“This comes with the additional features of unlimited usage (no time restrictions) and supporting of up to 100 participants,” the company added.
Google earlier this month said that in Hong Kong and Vietnam, where schools have already been closed, it has seen hundreds of thousands of students start using both Hangouts Meet, its video-conferencing tool available to all G Suite users, and Google Classroom, to join classes and continue their schooling remotely from home.
“And, as more businesses adjust their work-from-home policies and adopt reduced travel plans in response to COVID-19, we’re helping to ensure that all globally distributed teams can still reliably meet face to face, even if employees are not in the same location,” Javier Soltero, General Manager and VP, G Suite, said in a blog post.
Google has started rolling out free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally including larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
Typically available in the Enterprise edition of G Suite and in G Suite Enterprise for Education, these features will be available at no additional cost to all customers until July 1, Google said.
While making use of tools enabling remote working, cybersecurity should be on top of an organisation’s mind.
“We’re living in tricky times, so try not to let matters of public health cause the sort of friction that gets in the way of doing cybersecurity properly,” Paul Ducklin, Principal Research Scientist at Sophos, a Britain-based cybersecurity solutions firm.