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Covid-19: Why Are Organisations Terrified about Reviving the Work Environment

By 16/02/2021March 12th, 2021No Comments

The effect of COVID-19 flare-up depends on the cataclysm’s gravity, degree, and distribution, which remains unknown even today. The mass transition to WFH has numerous advantages and offers a path to being relevant during such quick-changing dynamics and as a shield from the contagion. 

During the lockdown, the IT industry transitioned to the WFH model relatively easily providing business continuity to clients without depreciation in service quality or productivity. This was possible due to the industry’s strict adherence to quality processes and the availability of communication bandwidth both from homes in cities and towns. With unhampered business functioning, other industries attempted to mirror the model, but not without disruptions and a dip in quality.  This endeavor across industry verticals is in line with the WHO directives too. 

On site versus work from home

The main concern for organizations is the effective administration of the workforce with the assistance of advanced apparatus, technology-empowered processes, and guaranteeing that everybody is doing their individual errands. Insurance of information and better correspondences have to be kept in sight as WFH turns into a drawn-out plan B. Organizations have to put resources into improving information security and framework. The mass integration of tech-powered business operations and cloud-based data storage facilities have eased the operations across industry verticals barring essential service workers and employees that have held the country together during such unprecedented times.

So where’s the glitch

The wrath of the pandemic has hurled the entire human species into their homes. The widely prevalent havoc wreaked by the pandemic has been a deterrent for many companies with an underlying fear that resuming offices and returning to the conventional method of functioning is an open invitation to infection. A single positive case may lead to contamination of the work environment, which spells disaster for the entire organization.

While companies deploying essential workers to carry out specific functions take measures to forestall the spread of the infection, it is pertinent to note that such measures do not guarantee protection from the virus. However, with the government unlocking states in a phased manner, companies are set to redefine the employment experience by striking an optimum balance between business continuity and community health and safety. 

From a long-term standpoint, WFH may serve as a supplement, rather than a substitute for conventional office environments. However, this common parlance has posed a new challenge with emerging cases of cyber-attacks, frauds, and crime that can seriously and negatively affect the already ailing business enterprise and could open the doors to more invasive forms of government prying in the future. 

Hence, there is a need to develop good cyber-security habits to reduce associated risks amidst the mass digitization of businesses. Moreover, proprietary confidential data and information pertaining to businesses are being accessed from unsecured laptops and desktops, thereby leading to increased exposure to phishing, email scams, and ransomware attacks by cybercriminals. 

Managers are in dire straits to reassess the legal, technical and personal dimensions of the cyber-security threats to their data, and proactively evaluate loss prevention processes.

The way forward

Despite high cyber-security risks, WFH may aid managers to reduce unprecedented losses incurred on account of the pandemic by saving on rental expenditures and other operational costs to keep the business afloat. Such mass adoption of the WFH method may bring momentary respite to numerous businesses. These are trying occasions for us all. Companies and their employees must build a culture that creates a conducive environment for the growth of both parties. 

As time goes by, a widespread pandemic event will assert more pressure on existing resources, infrastructure and technology, resulting in a significant depreciation of productivity and eventually that of products and services. As resources become constrained, firms must constantly re-prioritize delivery of products and services that are absolutely critical to meet customer needs, provide market stability and foster development. Thus a calculated deviation from the standard company policies is the need of the hour. 

Companies must expand on existing human resources, finance, legal, operations and business processes to accommodate certain critical exceptions, and clearly communicate the revised policies, criteria and processes to allow such waivers in an accelerated manner. All potential changes to existing policies should be carefully reviewed by risk management, compliance and legal teams prior to being finalized and should take into account what risks are appropriate to accept and any legal and jurisdictional nuances across geographies. 

As the world recoups from the pandemic, a redefinition of normalcy is well on its way.

Sonam Chandwani

Sonam Chandwani

Sonam Chandwani is the Managing Partner at KS Legal & associates and heads the firm’s Corporate Litigation Practice.

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