The novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China, in December, has expanded to touch nearly every corner of the globe. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been affected and countries have issued lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease. WHO and public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. All sections of our society – including businesses and employees – must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease.
Over the last few weeks, we have developed, refined, and extended our business continuity plans to ensure the seamless delivery of services to our clients around the world. The following are the measures we have taken to ensure the continuity of our offerings and services, as well as the safety of our employees, clients, and partners:
- Thanks to the early warning by the Indian Government, we were able to effectively transition to a “Work From Home” model for the entire staff flawlessly.
- We underwent a governance restructuring that now factors in the following – People, Project, Client and Organization.
- We were very transparent with all our clients and informed in detail about the revised governance plan, got their approvals for remote working, followed by a clear communication plan to ensure clients are kept informed of any changes or revisions that may take place.
- The Opteamix Leadership Team continues to monitor the status of the outbreak in India to ensure minimum to zero disruption to the services rendered to our clients and our people’s safety and welfare.
- We set up a daily team meetings and weekly organization-wide virtual all-hands meetings to share updates on COVID-19, discuss tasks, concerns, and provide tips on health and wellbeing.
- Opteamix’s internal ‘Workplace by Facebook’ is being used extensively for continuous social connect amongst the employees.
- Our virtual recruitment strategy enables us to continue our hiring and on-boarding
- We have moved onto online performance appraisals seamlessly and very successfully, without losing people connect.
- We continue to stay true to our culture which focuses on work ethics and discipline.
- By way of ensuring a stable infrastructure, the right equipment, appropriate internet bandwidth and security controls including Symantec Endpoint, ZScaler, etc., we as a company are geared up to serve our clients while working remotely.
- All our clients have reconfirmed to us that we have retained our service quality and our productivity has remained consistent despite the calamity.
Our Next Steps
We have adhered to the best practices provided by government agencies and organizations across the globe and have come up with guidelines for re-opening our office premises with Work From Office (WFO) and Work From Home (WFH) options.
Work From Office
We re-opened our premises with a limited capacity on May 11th, 2020. To follow #SocialDistancing norms, we have re-configured the seating to 35% of the occupancy and have taken the following steps:
- Disinfection of the entire premises carried out and sanitation drives will be conducted regularly
- We have put in place necessary controls to maintain hygiene, viz. check individual’s temperature at in & out time, regular sanitization, no-touch delivery, wearing masks, no handshakes, no usage of meeting rooms, using noise-cancelling headphones, etc.
- Our plan is to get started with 5% occupancy and then, gradually increase it on a weekly basis by 5%, up to a maximum occupancy of 35% till the COVID-19 situation comes under control.
- We believe this situation might continue for the next 9-18 months until COVID 19 vaccine is found and the situation comes under control.
Work From Home
We designed our Work-From-Home (WFH) policy to help employees manage their professional and personal life better. The following controls have been put in place and have been communicated to all individuals:
- Mandatory infrastructure requirements – well-lit work area, stable internet connection with minimum 30mbps speed, UPS, power surge protector, noise-cancelling headset, USB lights and a phone line.
- Wi-Fi router connections must be secured by enabling WPA2 + AES security.
- MS Team, Skype and Zoom are being used for Video and Audio-Conferencing.
- We have installed monitoring tools such as ZScaler, Symantec Endpoint Protection, etc. on every laptop.
- We have prohibited working from public places including cafes, restaurants and using public WI-FI.
- We have prohibited office laptop usage by an individual’s family members and/or friends
- We have instructed everyone to ensure compliance with ISO 27001 and HIPAA requirements.
Deliverables Planning and Tools
- The deliverables are managed with regular sprint plan and release plans and there has been no major impact on the releases.
- The planning is being done using MS Project Plan, JIRA, Redmine and any other tool as specified by the client.
- Collaboration tools such as JIRA, Confluence and MS Teams are being used for working together remotely.
- The code and other artefacts are maintained in the respective source controls namely, Azure DevOps, MSTS, GitHub, BitBucket, etc.
- OneDrive is used for any file storage and sharing
The Way Forward
While responding to a public health crisis is never easy, it provides an opportunity to stress-test operations and identify inefficiencies. Keeping that in mind, we have put certain practices in place to protect employees, customers, and local communities—which have ultimately made us more resilient during this difficult period.
As we redefine and reimagine the #NewNormal in our quest to overcome short-term difficulties and future proof our business, some of our thoughts revolve around:
- Developing and sharing of best practices with clients and partners to improve response efforts.
- Formulate a better understanding of our customers’ challenges and needs as they change and adapt to their current situation.
- Being perceptive to evolving industry structures, consumer behavior, market positions, and sector attractiveness.
- Work with clients to see how we can find opportunities to help them in terms of cost reduction, process efficiencies, remote working needs, etc. through Automation and Digitalization.
- Remaining connected to our employees and making every effort to stay focused on Employee Happiness and Well-being.
- Keeping staff in the know about new regulations – For example, the Government of India has released COVID 19 tracing App, called Aarogya Sethu and all employees must install this App on their smartphones
As the situation develops, we continue to survey and implement best practices that help us meet our goals without any interruptions or added risks to our projects. We would like to thank our clients for their support and trust, and our employees and their families for continuing to stay strong and rising to this challenge – with flexibility, resilience, and courage.