New apps help gauge workforce, workplace readiness for employees returning to office during pandemic
U.S. states and countries around the world are taking steps to reopen their economies, including bringing employees who had been working from home back into the office. ServiceNow is releasing four apps designed to help ease that transition.
The Lowdown: The IT service management (ITSM) company’s Safe Workplace Apps and related dashboards, launched this week, will help businesses assess the readiness of both the workplace and the workforce.
The Details: The apps, based on ServiceNow’s Now cloud platform, are:
> Employee Readiness Surveys: Through responses to a series of questions, organizations can gauge how well-prepared employees are to return to the workplace. The questions address the level of interest and readiness in returning and can inform the steps taken by the company.
> Employee Health Screening: Companies can ensure employees comply with requirements for returning to the office through such steps as temperature checks and making sure workers have personal protective equipment (PPE). The app includes a reporting dashboard that shows trends by sites and records the return of employees to facilities.
> Workplace Safety Management: The app helps managers to configure workspaces that are hygienic and allow for social distancing. It also enables administrators to assign shifts and configure the cleaning schedule at the end of each shift. Reports and dashboards also give managers real-time data on operations.
> Workplace PPE Inventory Management: Managers can manage and monitor their inventory of PPE to ensure the safety of the workplace. A dashboard provides a view of inventory at each facility, an aggregate look at the entire workplace, and historical data.
ServiceNow also updated two of the apps released in March as part of its customer care program for helping companies maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The two apps are:
> Emergency Self Report: The app enables employees to notify employers that they are self-quarantined and when they’ll return to work. The app is now supported on Now Mobile.
> Emergency Outreach: Through the app, companies can connect with employees via e-mail to deliver information and safety measures and request a response to ensure the employee is safe. Employers also have been able to send push notifications to employees’ mobile devices via the ServiceNow Now mobile app. The Emergency Outreach app can now integrate with other communications offerings, including Microsoft Teams and Slack.
The Impact: To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and ensure social distancing, businesses had sent many employees to work from home. Without a broad national testing and contact tracing program in the United States, some employees worried about their health have expressed concern about returning to the office. ServiceNow’s apps, which are aimed at alleviating some of that fear, can also be used by partners to help their clients begin to bring employees back to the office.
Background: Even after the pandemic passes, working from home will be a more regular part of companies’ business models. A number of companies, including Facebook and Google, are letting some employees continue to work from home through the end of the year, while Twitter has said many of its employees can do so permanently.
The Buzz: “Let’s get the world healthy, safe, and back to the workplace,” ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott said. “ServiceNow is helping companies manage the complex workflows required to keep employees healthy and workplaces safe. The ServiceNow Safe Workplace app suite and dashboard are engineered to make returning to the workplace work for everyone.”
“In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, business transformation is happening before our eyes and organizations are relying on technology to enable employees and digitize processes,” said Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and dean of the Josh Bersin Academy. “ServiceNow’s Safe Workplace app suite is exactly the kind of solution organizations need to effectively manage the return to the workplace and optimize employee experience.”
“At Lincoln we have teams across the organization working tirelessly to develop, communicate, and execute a plan for returning our employees to the workplace,” said Lisa M. Buckingham, executive vice president and chief people, place, and brand officer for Lincoln Financial Group. “There is no margin for error when it comes to the health and safety of our employees and given the constantly changing circumstances and multitude of factors at play, technology solutions like those offered by ServiceNow are invaluable in effectively coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating our plans and progress.”