As the COVID-19 pandemic irrevocably redefined the way we communicate and work, remote working and mobile workforces have become central to doing business in the new normal, writes Dharshan Naidoo, SADC Sales Team Lead at Infobip Africa.
This means that organisations are having to develop new communication strategies and channels to create a collaborative remote working environment for employees to ensure Business Continuity (BC).
However, it goes beyond merely assisting them to set up shop in their living rooms and bedrooms so they can continue to carry out their daily activities, the biggest concern has been enabling as much productivity of the mobile workforce as when they were in the office.
This means that remote workers should have access to the same software applications, data and tools as when working physically in the office. Yet not everything is equal. Organisations have diverse workforces and employees who live in different areas, with access to different communication mediums.
Catering for different connectivity
Some areas might have good connectivity, while some do not, and different employees may have access to distinct connectivity options such as ADSL, mobile internet or fibre. Enterprises must consider this and deploy technologies and channels that cater to these different types of connectivity.
Similar to creating an enhanced Customer Experience (CX), these new strategies will ultimately facilitate a more collaborative work environment and will require the same amount of intent and individual consideration, dictating a multi-channel approach.
The pandemic has forced many enterprises to move away from traditional communications channels, such as email, SMS and voice, and onto digital platforms in order to provide a better CX. It is a similar journey with employee experience, where businesses must adopt digital channels into their existing workflow to allow their remote workers to engage and collaborate more effectively.
We’ve recently seen organisations make good use of Over The Top (OTT) channels like WhatsApp API, Facebook Messenger and Viber to provide a better CX. As these type of channels are readily available and are already used and trusted by their employees, enterprises should try and move their operations to these platforms to bridge the digital divide.
AI is the future
Also, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future and has already been embraced by companies to enhance the CX. Organisations have deployed chatbots on top of OTT channels whilst similarly, AI can be harnessed from an internal communications perspective to improve the employee experience.
For example, automation can facilitate training or human resources (HR) tasks for remote workers. By incorporating a chatbot onto their internal WhatsApp chat app, companies can enable staff members to log annual and sick leave or upload sick notes through communicating with an AI-enabled chatbot.
The vital factor for businesses and employees is being able to use what they have to the best of their ability. In the past six months, we have seen businesses learning better ways to approach different solutions, as well as unique and more innovate ways of communicating.
By using readily available communications channels to engage with their remote workers, organisations do not need to reinvent the wheel, but can rather ensure better communication and collaboration with their employees, by simply providing a much more innovative way for employees to engage with the company.