Future of work has to be more agile, flexible and secure: Sindhu Gangadharan , Managing Director, SAP Labs India 

By Sindhu Gangadharan , Senior Vice President and Managing Director, SAP Labs India 

At SAP, safety and well-being of our employees is the utmost priority during this time of unprecedented uncertainty. All our employees are equipped to work from home and have all the needed connectivity and mobility tools. For SAP maintenance and support functions, we have business continuity plans in place. All internal systems, tools, monitors, etc. are designed to allow remote work; we have already activated these measures worldwide.  At SAP, we use the best collaboration tools for communication, group work and data backup.

Work from Home Challenges
There are certain region specific challenges that do crop up like intermittent power supply or drop in bandwidth etc.  However, work from home is nothing new for SAP as this is a part of our policy and employees are used to this concept and have been exercising this option.  We have made free online resource available called Remote Work Pulse by Qualtrics which helps us understand how employees are doing and what support they need as they adapt to new work environments.

Through this, we ensure our employees’ concerns are heard and addressed in order to maintain business continuity and close experience gaps. We are also sharing the best practices of work from home with our employees to keep them motivated.

Key lessons learnt
Preparedness, staying calm, ensuring clear and timely communication is the key in times of crisis.  SAP has invested a great deal in crisis preparedness and therefore, we are well equipped to meet any challenges that may come crop up.  While we understand the importance of collaboration and supporting each other, in times such as this, it becomes much more critical.

This is a great opportunity to learn and understand the importance of coming together virtually to support each other effectively.  We at SAP have always understood the importance of providing clear and transparent information along with constant update to employees. It is important for all organizations to be in a state of preparedness and quickly respond to any crisis that may come upon them unexpectedly.

Collaboration tools used
While we are all adapting to different work and collaboration models – understanding and acting on the challenges our employees face will help us equip them to navigate this new normal. Qualtrics has helped us get to the heart of every employee and Remote Work Pulse is designed to help employees stay connected and move forward. Besides this, we are also engaging with employees across the globe through virtual contests/games to keep the mood positive and facilitate smooth collaboration between employees.

Future of work
The future of work will have to be more agile, flexible and secure. The new norms of working is already here. We are already seeing a shift in the recent years where companies have adapted to remote working environments, like at SAP where giving employees an option to work from home has been quite an old practice.  Organisations should leverage on the power of technology that allows effective collaboration and efficient remote working. In the gig or freelance economy, working from anywhere is the new norm. We are seeing an accelerated growth of the gig economy in India and technology is supporting its fast increase.

Covid-19SAP LabsSindhu Gangadharan
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