Shedding light on how the company dealt with the onset of the pandemic Nagendra Sharma states that, “None of the IT/ITES organisations, saw this pandemic coming. However, with the leadership, across the board, quickly coming together to redraft strategies for the future and to adapt to the new normal, helped enable the staff to work from home without invoking the BCP.
"The normalisation strategy was planned in multiple phases as it’s more than evident now that “work from home” and “work for office” is here to stay till the vaccine or medicine is out in the market.” He adds that “Facility team and facility heads have to play a major role in the return to work transition. Safety and hygiene are paramount, it is going to be our responsibility to sell our company to our employees and build the confidence in them to return to work by ensuring redesign of seating allocation, paper-free/touchless restrooms, pantry, and cafeteria solutions.”
In its efforts to ensure safety Telstra has issued “My Key” to all its employees. This is a multipurpose key that will eliminate most of the touchpoints’ access like elevator buttons, opening the doors, accessing lockers, and usage of vending machines in the work area.
The facilities teams at the company have also carried out modifications to their water dispensers and converted it to a foot-operated dispenser; some of the other initiatives include the installation of sensor-based sanitizer dispensers in the entrance of all floors, meeting rooms and common areas.
The cafeteria is completely technology-driven and the food ordering happens through an app, this, again, eliminates most of the touchpoint interactions with the vendor staff. Last but not least, as a sustainability measure, the company has introduced “BYOB” (Bring your own water bottle) & “BYOM”(Bring your own mug) concept.
He also recognises that technology and automation are playing a major role in the post-pandemic world as there’s a paradigm shift form touch-based workplace to touch-free offices. Technologies like thermal detection sensors at the entrance, Bluetooth/face recognition-enabled access control system, occupancy sensors, digitisation of checklist for property operations like the implementation of QR scanners, and sensor-based restroom cleaning system are some of the technologies, which will stand as differentiators from an existing process to future process.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the industry has been crippled with some major challenges; especially the multiple challenges involved in ensuring a safe, secure, and hygiene work environment once the employees return back to the office. “Allowing non-critical functions to continue to work from home redesign the space allocation without investing in CAPEX and last but not least, being prepared to deal and manage any COVID 19 infection at the workplace are going to be some of the game-changers in the industry for future of work.”