January 6, 2021

The brighter side of prolonged COVID-19 pandemic situation is that it made us look at the world differently. It has forced the organizations to redefine the way they do their businesses. Preparations are being laid out to redefine the office and work life after COVID-19.

The impetuous response to the COVID-19 situation and lockdown was to allow the employees to work from home (WFH). Many companies are now switching to permanent work from home, with top companies such as TCS planning to allow 75% of its employees to work from home by 2025. Almost half of the employees who are working remotely from home are content with their job and do not want to change the way they work in the near future.

Pandemic situation or post recovery, from now on remote working is going to be a standalone process instead of a one-off case in any Human Resource Management System (HRMS) tool.

However, transformation to work from home is one of the biggest challenges HR Managers are facing in this pandemic scenario. When the WFH mandate was arrived at, some organizations were able to adapt more quickly than others. The primary reason is the capability of the infrastructure and the mindset to identify, embrace and execute new technologies. The users need a tool which can be accessed from anywhere using any device with insignificant commotion. A productive environment for remote working requires a strong, steadfast, secure and scalable application that supports positive employee productivity and collaboration.

Remote work companies are in need to:

  • Redefine the working etiquette and policies and ensure employees are well informed

  • Strategize new attendance and leave rules

  • Enable flexible work times

  • Identify the total worked hours of remote working employees

  • Effective mechanism to plan, assign and track the work from home employees

  • Integrate the data as per new business rules to payroll systems with minimal efforts and corrections

  • Minimize manual HR administrator tasks

  • Plan specific programs to connect, collaborate and persuade remote employees

  • Design special processes such as allowances related to work from employees

  • Help HR managers easily procure, monitor and regulate workforce assets

  • Simplify process of identifying and differentiating work from home and work from office employees

Work from Home feature developed in any HRMS tool should be the powerhouse of functionalities bundled to serve the growing need of remote working with a focus on boosting employee productivity with functionalities such as -

  • Configurable options to allow any one or all the user roles such as employee, manager and administration to initiate work from home to the employees while selecting the 'Assets' to be used during work from home and the 'Reason' for working from home

  • Employees to read and accept the work from home policies keeping them updated on the organization policies

  • Configurable workflows to employee, managers and HR managers

  • Shift management feature to assign shift as per new policies

  • Automated attendance marking of employees working from home

  • Regular check-ins with Geo Tagging feature in mobile-friendly application to establish a structured system for daily check IN and check OUT functionality keeping employees in loop

  • Option to punch attendance through mobile allows system to automatically track the “location and time of punch” making attendance management of remote workforce simpler

  • Option to regularize attendance in case of check in check out corrections

  • Configurable option to either auto approve the regularized attendance or use approval mechanism

  • Integrated project timesheet tool linked with employee attendance

  • Notification to Organization IT teams informing of the assets being used by each employee during work from home duration

  • Integration of work from home data with payroll system

  • Maintain and process working from office employee’s data as per the redefined organization policies and business rules

  • Real-time visibility and analysis of ‘work from home’ and ‘work from office’ employees providing employee managers and HR managers insights for planning

While we need to introduce a new feature into the market, we also need to evaluate its market size. Regardless of the industry or the location, there is massive opportunity without any limit as this feature can be implemented in any application where employee data is maintained and where work from home is allowed and managed within any industry or location.

Sandeep is a Business Analyst with the Platform Solutions unit at TCS. He has over 11 years of experience in SAP, TCS CHROMATM and SuccessFactors HRMS applications as a Functional Consultant. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration in Human Resource and Marketing from BIFT, Hyderabad, along with a graduate degree in engineering.