The author of the editorial

We’ve entered a new year, but in the wake of a pandemic that doesn’t allow us to feel safe yet. In 2020, while Italy and the rest of Europe continued to be locked down, companies were committed to verifying their ability to work safely within offices.

In a situation where we are swirling between the emergence of continuous variants of the virus around the world and the release of the first vaccines, the role of the business leaders is growing: not only responsible for costs and revenues, but also guardian of health and safety regulations.

In times like today’s, knowing how to make correct and timely decisions is more important than ever for employees to continue to trust in the organization, especially when it comes to keeping offices closed or open in total safety, finding the right balance between remote and local work.

Covid-19 and employee attention

At the beginning of 2020, when the first wave of Covid-19 spread around the world, companies quickly reorganized their employees to work from home, in some cases even overnight.

This accelerated digital transformation projects and IT investments became a business-critical priority as companies ran to adapt to the new situation. Many of them were not fully prepared, however, and some were forced to ask employees to return to the premises while the pandemic was raging: different approaches to crisis management that had consequences for people’s perception and their willingness to return to the office.

In Europe, after the first wave of the pandemic, according to data from the research unit of Morgan Stanley, AlphaWise, the British workforce was the most reluctant to return to the company with only a third (34%) of white collars During the same period, 83% of French workers and 76% of Italian workers returned to the office.

Many factors weigh on these differences: from trust in policy in different countries to evolving regulations, to the recognized comfort of smart working from home, to the growing preference given to hybrid work models. Each business leader has been called upon to make important decisions about return strategies: someone has chosen a more precautionary approach, others less.

But whatever the decision, when a crisis is going through, having the confidence of one’s employees is fundamental, especially when the decision to work from home rather than in the office has direct consequences on their well-being and that of the community to which they belong.

In times of uncertainty, the relationship of trust with employees promotes strength and resilience. A research published by Accenture underlines that trust is the new currency on the job, since it allows companies to create solidarity cultures and grow business while helping the surrounding community. Looking at the impact of the pandemic, statistics speak for themselves. Before it, 35% of CXO fully assumed responsibility for supporting people’s holistic needs; only six months later, this figure rose to 50%.

Trusting through tangible data-driven insights

The question that unites all companies in this unprecedented historical moment is how to regain or in any case strengthen trust, giving comfort to employees and consolidating the foundations of the business. When fighting an invisible virus and being flooded with conflicting information from a myriad of sources and organizations, people need something tangible to hold onto, certain data and consistency, especially when it comes to

Given the speed at which the pandemic moves, with the rates of transmission dictating the directives of the various regions, and the availability of vaccines scheduled for 2021, access to real-time data to make quick, effective and consistent decisions on the subject of work in the With local lockdown measures, staff need to believe that their employer is able to give the right directions at the right time.

Dell Technologies data scientists, in collaboration with medical professionals, have developed a dedicated tool • Inverted Risk Matrix • to obtain precise indications from health data • number of infections, admissions, curve inclination etc. •

The matrix works by collecting data made available from authoritative sources such as Johns Hopkins, Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. The system uses a total of 15 different variables, all weighed appropriately, to calculate the overall risk score of 182 countries and 173 states/provinces in which the company is present. The data is automatically updated and checked several times a day. The managers also consider the capacity of each location and the regulations in force at local level to determine the possibility of reopening offices or the need to close the various locations. This tool not only helps to organize the return to the office in total safety, but also to stay in the office safely.

Holistic approach to health: combination of business and data

Data-driven approaches like this help people make real-time decisions, better, more consistent and more thoughtful. But data alone cannot solve the dilemma of how and when to reopen offices safely. What is needed is a holistic approach that ensures the involvement of the main stakeholders, eliminating their fragmentation into separate silos.

A sure strategy that allows working in the office for those who want to do so, means sharing a single strategic line in collaboration with the different business units: human resources, general services, CIO, commercial area, so as to define a careful and inclusive approach, to measure of their workforce This holistic approach is already easily integrated within companies that have evolved in the direction of .. digital business, and is an essential component of its digital transformations.

Companies that make their work flexible by adopting the digital transformations necessary to increase their operational agility are also those destined to grow, since they more easily embody the concept of resilience. For this reason, taking a data-driven approach during this pandemic can help mitigate any further shock, basically by reassuring the workforce that health and safety are priority elements, extending or reducing the need to be present in the office quickly. In doing so, the same company becomes responsible and reliable.

With the confidence that has become the current currency at work, a transparent communication through a representative stakeholder group is now essential. Only in this way can an effective and convincing implementation be adopted. And in order to do it correctly, even on this occasion, the data is the basis of everything.

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