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Two things Covid-19 has taught us about the workplace

Jordi Ferrer, VP & GM, UK and Ireland, ServiceNow on why things will never be the same again

Shifting an entire business and its processes to remote work during a global crisis was never going to be easy

Shifting an entire business and its processes to remote work during a global crisis was never going to be easy. Photograph: Getty Images

 

How’s your office been for you over the last eight months? Maybe you’ve got a nice comfy set-up at home, perhaps you’ve been balancing your laptop on the kitchen table, or have you been amongst the deck chairs, lawn mowers, and old barbecues in the garden shed? 

Responding to Covid-19 has left every worker with a different story to tell, but for the C-Suite and IT leaders of Ireland, it posed a major challenge: how do you re-work your digital transformation plans overnight to ensure teams are kept safe, in sync, and your customers happy?

Shifting an entire business and its processes to remote work during a global crisis was never going to be easy, and some companies have excelled – even seeing productivity explode – while many others have struggled.

And it’s crazy when you think about it: a single virus has been responsible for redefining the future of work, while accelerating digital transformation and sparking a dash to find solutions that bring systems and workflows together without causing silos. 

Two things, though, have become abundantly clear: 

1. Remote working does work with the right digital platform in place

Photograph: Getty Images
Photograph: Getty Images

During our recent Now at Work event, we learned so much about the impact Covid-19 has had on the workplace – and there’s no doubt about it, the pandemic has come out of nowhere and sent us years into the future in just a matter of months. 

As we learned from our customers speaking at Now at Work though, for those who’ve been able to grasp the opportunity, the rewards have been high. In fact, recent research shows two-thirds of employers are seeing increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers.

But it takes a change in culture powered by the right digital platform to ensure success.

Take Coca Cola European Partners for example, who approached the pandemic by creating a company-wide portal to communicate vital Covid-related information and support. Using the ServiceNow Health Alert Employee Experience Pack as inspiration, the company built a Covid-19 resource portal in a matter of days, featuring up-to-date guidance on remote working, IT communications, and other timely and pertinent information related to the crisis.

Anna Tregurtha, associate director, employee experience lead at CCEP, said they knew in a crisis like Covid-19, providing employees with accurate, helpful information to help keep teams safe and healthy was paramount: “When Health Alert came out from ServiceNow, we saw it as a great opportunity to use our ServiceNow portal to create a coronavirus support hub that brings together all the latest company updates, guidance, and support around coronavirus for employees and managers.”

To me, that sounds like a company who truly cares about their employee’s welfare and is getting ready to come out of this situation stronger than ever. 

2. Remote working is here to stay

Photograph: Getty Images
Photograph: Getty Images

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know things feel different right now, but in case you were in any doubt, the ‘old normal’ won't be coming back as it seems teams are firmly embracing their new workplace. 

In fact, research of 4,700 knowledge workers found most don’t want to return to how life was: only 12 per cent want to return to full-time office work, while just under three-quarters are opting for a hybrid remote-office model moving forward. 

So, now it’s up to business and IT leaders to be brave enough to seize the moment, and plan for a world without commutes or nine-to-fivers – and that’s going to take the right digital platforms to set you up for success, no matter where your teams are based.

For professional services company Capita, they needed automation solutions for their businesses operating in industries including insurance, finance, travel, workplace services, health, and local government. 

Ian Price is head of automation service and support at Capita: “A lot of our work is about managing processes. The promise of automation is lower cost, fewer human errors, and service consistency. It also allows us to take on extra work with no addition to headcount, and to move teams to higher-value service tasks.”

They’ve recently created an entirely digital service desk to provide first-line support, built on ServiceNow Customer Support Management Pro, IT Service Management, and IT Business Management. In one week, the ServiceNow platform supported 61,000 transactions. 

Ian said: “I’m aware of how cliched the term ‘transformational’ is, but I truly believe we can revolutionise how services are delivered to Capita customers. Our adoption of ServiceNow is enabling us to design, build, and launch new automation projects quickly and effectively. This is helping our customers, as well as boosting staff morale.”

So, there you have it, the work-life we used to know has been turned on its head, but it seems the knowledge workers are happy to embrace it. Businesses now just need to find the right digital platform to enable it. 

Learn more about how ServiceNow gives you the power to make work, work better - no matter the circumstances. Visit servicenow.co.uk