The last few weeks has reshaped our lives, and businesses around the globe.  And among the biggest change for businesses – shifting to a work from home model at an unprecedented speed.

That’s what we had to do as well for some of our businesses – pivot the multi-country 4,000 employee strong workforce supporting back office processes and contact center needs, for over 100+ customers, to a work from home model in less than a week, in an effort to achieve zero business disruption for our existing customers. While this was happening, there were several new customers who needed help too, and we put in extra effort to make that happen as well.

I would like to share some measures that we had always been taking, some that we had to quickly adapt to, and many that we continue to take – to support employees and customers in the current environment. Hope you find these useful for your own business and environment.

What’s needed to quickly migrate to a remote work model?

    • Having a strong BCP in place – With nearly two decades of experience in servicing the Banking and Financial services industry, we knew that business disruption could have huge implications. So we have built a robust Business Continuity Plan that we also test regularly.  With policies around remote access, adequate and effective security log monitoring procedures already in place, we could easily enable a remote work from home model without major challenges. However, we did come across new obstacles and situations – but having a dedicated 24×7 crisis management team in place constantly available for any support helped provide quick remedial solutions
    • Proactively reaching out to clients seeking their permission to manage their processes from a work from home model
    • Segregation of processes into 2 categories – one that could be immediately shifted to a remote work model and a second category that included processes that needed some additional security measures to be managed from home, or needed to be managed from white rooms within the office premises
    • Provisioning laptops/desktops with remote network connectivity, system hardening and additional data security measures for a work from home environment

Managing day to day service delivery for clients

    • Daily remote team huddles to manage and prioritize daily tasks and discuss team performance and any operational challenges
    • Equipping employees with remote communication tools to get any issues resolved quickly and allow real time collaboration
    • Daily communication/ discussions with client stakeholders
    • Performance dashboards to constantly monitor quality, turn times and productivity across our backup office and call center operations
    • A pool of cross trained staff available to support business operations to deliver operational efficiency and turn time requirements

Measures to mitigate data and security breaches

With data and security breaches being one of the greatest concerns for customers in a remote work model, strong measures need to be in place to maintain effective information security. Some of them are:

    • Hardening of laptops and desktops with enhanced security policies
    • Stringent monitoring of remote users working from home
    • Network perimeter controls VPN, RDS or cloud proxy to ensure no data transfer and leakages

Supporting employees

Obviously, the priority is taking care of employees. For BCP and a remote working model to be effective, it requires sacrifices, adjustments,  dedication and hard work from employees, specifically the support groups like facility management, technology support, human resources, and so on.

And to keep operations running smoothly, several other aspects need to be taken care of:

    • Regular communication with the employees, and a check on their well-being
    • Ensuring that the workforce has all the provisions needed for working remotely
    • Making employees feel that each one of them is a vital link in the organization structure – using remote live sessions conducted by the senior and top management team and communications via emails, text messages, etc.
    • Ensuring that employees have a work life balance while working remotely
    • For employees working in the offices, some measures that could be taken: ensuring strict social distancing  and other precautionary health measures like regular sanitization of the office facilities, taking care of their accommodation and travel needs, providing hand sanitizers within the office, making masks mandatory even while at work, regular health checks of employees (including body temperature and of check of other symptoms)

Reducing any customer business impact

In summary, not only was it important to have active, tested Business Continuity Management practices in place, but when a business disruption was imminent, we had to quickly transition to a remote workforce model – this agility helped us continue supporting our customers and ensuring the least amount of business disruption.

In addition, because of the responsiveness, we have also been successful helping several new customers who have reached out to us seeking support in helping them manage either their business disruption, or in some cases, an increase amount of business. Our pool of cross trained staff and our ability to hire, onboard and train new resources remotely and quickly has helped us respond to other businesses in need of help.

I would love to hear any feedback on how you may have also implemented a more robust operational model.  In case you need help with your business operations, please reach out to us at solutions@slkgroup.com – we will be happy to share how we are managing the business operations and contact center needs of some of your peers in the insurance, banking, mortgage and the financial services industries.

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