In early March this year, when the deadly virus COVID-19 was spreading its wings across the globe, India was still a relatively safer place. But our Managing Director Mr. Sanjay Panjwani, who has always put his staff’s interest first, made a proactive decision of implementing the “remote-work” culture as a preventive measure.
“Your health, your safety matters most and safety is in staying home”, he said, as we started preparing ourselves for “working-from-home” beginning in a day’s time. Considering the uncertainty surrounding the coming few days and weeks, there was no clue how long it was going to last. And it is precisely this uncertainty which called for elaborate preparedness on various fronts.
Checklist to get ready
Set in motion by this announcement, the different departments got into action to ensure the in-house readiness. The checklist included an attendance tracker, remote login/logout facility for the employees, VPN configuration, access to data, tools for internal collaboration, performance monitoring, task allocation and salary processing, & IT declaration, since the year-end was just around the corner.
However, the question remained, can we pull it off in the given 24-hour window? There weren’t many takers of the idea. Most of the employees doubted the possibility of making a smooth transition to remote-work culture, given it was too short a period for a company with 500+ employees, spread across 9 offices around the world.
But, in the year 2020, our approach ought to be of Twenty20 cricket- fast & slam-bang!
And we were up & running, remotely, in just 1 day.
Arrows in the quiver
Did BatchMaster have the resources to make it possible? Well, our in-house applications such as BizChat and HeRd made it look like a walk in the park.
These apps ensured:
- Our employees could remotely login/logout in a safe & secure manner.
- They could connect, communicate, and engage with each other in real-time.
- They could access data and share important files, documents etc.
- They could file IT declaration.
- The managers could monitor performance of their team.
- The salary could be processed without fuss.
These apps, designed for cloud, offer the users a simplified platform which facilitates information sharing and seamless coordination among employees operating from different locations. These applications played a huge role in making “work-from-home” for our employees a reality.
Best part was, it didn’t take a lot of efforts to ensure that we could continue to operate at similar efficiency levels without compromising with the safety interest of our employees, and the business interest of our customers as well as ours. BatchMaster HeRd made it possible in the simplest of way.
How we made it possible – behind the scenes
That round table conference
Looking at the rise in the figures of Coronavirus positives, an in-house meeting of all the heads- mainly the head of human resources, information technology (IT) & networking, the Operations Manager, and the Vice Presidents was immediately called.
The idea was to do a feasibility check by talking to various stakeholders, and determine whether we had all the resources, and if it was possible to make such number of people work-from-home.
It was unanimously decided that we will go for work-from-home, a week before the lockdown announced by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While we were still away from the lockdown, “work-from-home” was a decision taken voluntarily to save people, as few of our staff members were returning from the United States of America (USA) and other parts of the world. Our firefighters- the HR department acted swiftly. It readied a consent form to determine the availability of laptops and other necessary requisites for working remotely. The work-from-home rules were prepared, updated on HeRd for everyone to know.
For training the entire staff on HeRd, simple demo videos were shared with all the employees, so that the employees could make a smooth transition to remote-work culture. And trust us that were enough as HeRd is very simple to use.
Not to mention, the crucial role our developers played here. Working-from-home demanded the remote login/logout feature in HeRd, so that the employee attendance could be recorded every day. The team of developers worked at war-footing to ensure that this feature was added just in the nick of time.
The HR department also created several respective groups on BizChat for the internal communication. The employees could post IT-related queries in the IT group, HeRd-related issues in HeRd’s, so on and so forth. Ensuring the queries are received in real-time, the solution is provided in real-time and work goes on seamlessly all-time.
Using HeRd, the managers could allocate tasks, monitor their progress, and even check the employee productivity through the duly-filled daily employee task-sheets. Also, this being that time of the year when the performance appraisals are done, HeRd simplified the process of digitally assessing the employees for the managers. Also, the employees could self-evaluate themselves, and even provide their managers’ feedback.
Money, and other admin matters
HeRd, through its comprehensive payroll module, made salary processing easy. It made the work-from-home of Accounts department even as smooth as silk. As the software made IT declaration a cakewalk, with easy uploading & submission of documents that are proof of investments such as policy receipts.
The accounts department could easily evaluate the declarations, and take necessary action such as approving or rejecting them. This built a communication bridge between the employees and HR; helping accounts put up if there’s any need for re-submitting the docs, simultaneously alerting the employees what they need to do next.
IT and support – The wall
The IT & networking department was being asked to provide a realistic time frame of getting the VPN connections ready for over 500+ employees, apart from ensuring the safety of data and servers. The team responded brilliantly, by getting the required infrastructure ready in less than 24 hours.
The team ensured the sufficient bandwidth for VPN, secured connection to the servers, round-the-clock networking support to the employees, as well as assistance to our employees in responding to queries and offering support to our customers all through our in-house chat tool- BizChat.
Also, being a cloud-based company, easy digital access to all the folders where important data and documents are placed, was instant without major adjustments.
Not just Collaboration, but Cohesion
Most of our employees had never worked outside of an office setup for this long. So, it was important to make them feel connected, and importantly, ‘feel at home’ at work, even while being at home. HeRd & BizChat did the trick. While all the information, rules, policies could be instantly broadcasted through HeRd, the Managers, IT people, HR were all a click apart through BizChat making working as a team not a distant dream but a virtual reality.
And, we did it
In just the blink of an eye, we were able to create the perfect “work-from-home” experience for our employees without making any compromise on security, productivity, and work efficiency. The transition was as seamless as walking straight into one room of the house from another.
Today, already a month into it, we are operating like well-oiled machinery. This confidence of “working-from-home” with great efficiency stems from the fact that we have built a robust remote infrastructure that includes HeRd and BizChat.
Something for the business fraternity
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought more than a million lives at a standstill, and thousands of businesses around the world to their knees. We believe the business community is down but not out, and wish to play an active role in helping businesses find their feet again.
Doing our bit, we are offering heavy discounts to the businesses on our BatchMaster HeRd offerings. With travel bans and risk of having a consultant over at the site, we are offering Remote Installations and 24×7 support.