Few could have imagined what 2020 would offer the world. Now, halfway through the year, companies have adapted to new business models and have produced new best practices and guidelines set forth to keep employees safe and maintain continuity.
Whether your business moved to 100 percent remote work or your facility never closed at all, your challenges likely feel insurmountable after a couple of months of this pandemic. Between disinfecting, social distancing, managing and procuring personal protective equipment (PPE), and monitoring employee health, this virus adds layers of extra work and responsibility for not only those leaders who are trying to solve these challenges across their organizations, but also the department managers who must have to implement these solutions and still meet company goals. Additionally, overworked IT departments have had to engineer remote work, teleconferencing, and handle increased data security concerns.
By now, you have sorted out some of your new protocols and best practices. But these new workflows and information transfers may not be easily integrated into legacy systems, leaving you with cumbersome methods of data recording and communication that can hinder your ability to get your teams safely back to work. Here are some ways to quickly digitize the unique and emerging workflows that your core business systems can’t handle.
Operational and Business Practices
Whether your worksite is reopening or stayed open and is adapting to new protocols, we have seen companies across industries need to address several points of safety for both your employees and your customers. These include the following:
- Site access and testing strategy
- Workplace distancing and site cleaning
- Managing new workflows
Each of these areas requires planning and tracking, and out of necessity are often addressed by companies’ citizen developers: the non-IT employees savvy enough to create workflows outside of the IT department. Here’s a look at some of the particulars of each of these safety silos.
Site Access and Testing Strategy
Companies can reduce or eliminate virus exposure within the walls of their business through access restriction, information questionnaires, or physical screenings, according to CDC guidelines.
Low-code platforms can help you handle the complexity of these guidelines, and help deal with the constantly evolving local, state, and federal recommendations.
New processes to stand up temperature screenings or create online forms with questions about employee’s exposure, symptoms, and recent travel, requires flexible and customizable technology.
For example, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies developed an application to track the temperatures of all employees and workers across their multiple locations. This ability to centralize critical information about employee wellness provided visibility so leaders could make informed decisions to ensure worker safety.
Citizen developers can help to relieve the pressure on the IT department by designing the questionnaires, developing a tracking system for essential visitors, and tracking PPE for screeners and employees.
Low-code platforms enable companies to be agile as they adjust to, what feels like, nearly daily changes. They allow you to centralize information regardless of location and provide real-time visibility into efforts to keep employees safe.
Workplace Distancing and Site Cleaning
Of the new practices, these are most complex and require intense management. Companies are juggling a reduced workforce, slowed production lines, and reworked office layouts to ensure that a six-foot distance is maintained. They employ difficult-to-find PPE to accommodate situations where distancing is impossible. They are installing barriers between each manufacturing worker to keep them safe from the airborne virus spread.
Manufacturing plants that use PPE such as hard hats, gloves, and goggles, now track strict usage and cleaning regimens and prohibit the sharing of other equipment, such as remotes and headsets. Some companies with shared workstations have issued personal keyboard covers for their employees to use and take home with them. Site cleaning is now a critical priority, covering not only daily housekeeping but also between-shift sanitization and disinfecting.
You know your business best and what new distancing and sanitization practices should be implemented.
Many departments navigating the back to work process have developed workflows on their own by combining citizen developers with secure-but-flexible digital tools like low-code. These platforms can help track scheduling for these cleanings, shift changes, and equipment sharing. They also can provide an easy way to communicate information to the correct people, from supervisors to C-Suite executives.
For example, one of the world’s largest delivery services developed an application with Quickbase to provide them with real-time information about what stores are closed for cleaning and what stores nearby may be open. This capability has allowed employees to keep working and pick up shifts at open locations near them.
Managing New Workflows
Businesses now must be even more diligent about their company’s hygiene and sanitization practices. While this may have been a practice pre-COVID-19, it is critical to keeping employees safe while back at work. Companies now also need to be able to track when any incidents occur and get that information to those who need it as quickly as possible.
If someone at your workplace becomes sick, there are new steps companies must take to control the incident. You need to track when it happened, where, what equipment that employee touched, and how to get the information to company leaders so they can quickly take action.
Low-code platforms enable users to leverage real-time dashboards that allow them to break down information by incident type, impact, and more. This transparency allows for better control over total risk exposure, something that is more important than ever to keeping your operations going. And due to their flexible, scalable nature, users can create and automate workflows for fast-evolving data, process and compliance requirements in days, not weeks.
And with your company likely doing more with less, it is critical that your technology be flexible and agile enough to help meet new demands.
Getting it Done
Companies must be able to rapidly adapt to continue safe and successful operations. That means streamlining rigid and time-consuming processes that provide little visibility. Employee safety is more important than ever. Your operations depend on it.
Low-code platforms allow ease-of-use and provide custom solutions to address specific needs across the organization.