The COVID-19 pandemic has since then brought unprecedented challenges for both people and society. We approached the situation fearlessly, moved with speed and created an agile framework that allowed people to work from home (a new norm in the BPO industry, that needed a mindset change as well as technology interventions), thereby adhering to guidelines of social distancing and ensuring that they were safe.
The new model ensured that all employees had the required infrastructure support to work seamlessly. It proved Vindhya’s flexibility and agility to adjust to a new environment in no time.
The COVID-19 response efforts are comprehensive, with respect to what Vindhya does today. We re-matrixed our entire organization, did a self-assessment of the staff, found where our capacity could be redeployed and made these changes. We repositioned ourselves and our resources to support our customers across the country ensuring business continuity for them. This also brought to the fore new reporting systems, effective technology interventions and all these have changed the narrative of the future.
The swiftness with which we transitioned, the continuity of operating existing businesses stands as a proof for Vindhya’s ability to operate Business As Usual (BAU) rather than a Business Continuity (BCP).
Throughout lockdown period, we continued to serve 73% of our clientele, out of both office and home. Only 4 processes, amounting to 22%, had to operate out of office due to dependency on technology that couldn’t be replicated onto work from home model. We continued to work from office post receiving required approval or permission letter from the concerned clients.
Assistance To Employees To Work From Home
We reviewed the list of people living in PG and at home and listed whether they are equipped with Laptops or computers to deliver from home. Based on that, we arranged for wi-fi adapters and dongles to enable working with desktop, at home and in PG respectively. Close to 300 desktops were shifted to employees’ location (PG and Home) supported with all the required IT support to work seamlessly.
Similar measures were taken in both Bangalore and Hyderabad offices.
Inclusive Measures taken to assist VI and HI Work from Home
It is important to have an inclusive transition measures in place to ensure Visually Impaired and Hearing-Impaired employees have all the required set up in place to work seamlessly at home or at PG. Following are the measures taken by Vindhya for the same.
Enabling VI EmployeesEnabling HI Employees
- In the initial days, we faced technical challenges in enabling visually challenged employees to login and answer calls from home.
- Issues related to internet connectivity and screen reader software support in mobiles were addressed taking help from internal team
- From 2nd week of April, all the VI employees started working as usual, from their home.
- To assist hearing and speech impaired employees work from home, Chat option is being used for discussion and recorded training videos for training
Measures Taken By IT Team To Ensure
IT team assessed the requirement and increased office internet bandwidth to support work from home. As mentioned earlier, we arranged for wi-fi adapters and its installation and dongles to enable working with desktop, at home and in PG respectively.
Network Firewalls and L3 switches are configured for high secured work from home environment. VPN has been configured in the users’ desktops, for safe and secure login. Cloud based antivirus has been installed in the all desktops and live monitoring is enabled for the systems health check. IT team has configured and enabled all the voice/call servers for work from home option in secure mode.
Leveraging Technology To Keep In touch
For many of us, co-workers have been the main source of daily human interaction. COVID has disrupted that by having companies experience working from home / remove work environment for the first time. It is a difficult task for managers and team leaders to maintain team connectivity and cohesion, intact.
We pondered over many suggestions given by the management and employees on this. Working from home came with its own benefits and disadvantages. Leveraging the technologies, we are glad to have had a chance to address them and be better prepared.
Everyday morning, team would get onto video call using zoom, Google Hangout to get the brief for the day and share updates. Video call is used for both official and unofficial discussions. Virtual tea corner, virtual lunching, virtual birthday celebration is planned every week to ensure team has leisure times. These are when words of appreciation, encouragement are shared with the team.
Team wise groups are created to share work related challenges, if any, to the Team Leaders, IT helpdesk, Managers who would then pitch in and solve. It helps to share the updates instantly and simultaneously.
Managers and Team leaders have made it a daily morning ritual to check-in on the team members about their well-being and then move onto the work. Personal contact is very important at this juncture.
Anydesk / Team Viewer Application
Since employees have taken desktops to their home/ PG, system related problems, internet connectivity, power issues may occur frequently. IT team uses remote desktop applications to address such issues and ensure they work seamlessly.
Serving Govt. Of Karnataka
Due to COVID-19 crisis and impose of lockdown, hunger has become a huge crisis for millions of migrant people across the country. Recognizing this, the Labour Department of the Karnataka Government decided to establish 24*7 helpline called Dasoha Helpline that supplies dry ration and cooked food for the stranded migrants living in Karnataka.
Vindhya received an order from Labour Department, Govt. Of Karnataka to set up a 24x7 helpline desk, Dasoha- Hunger Helpline, on 27th March 2020. The order was to arrange 60 advisors spread in 3 shifts. In less than 4 hours of receiving the order, Vindhya successfully managed to have the helpline ready and go live with required 60 advisors. As the number of calls increased on daily basis, we received new orders to add 250 more advisors to the existing team.
Ration-kit Helpline – BBMP
To address the dry ration needs of thousands of migrant workers living in Karnataka, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has started a massive program of distributing the dry ration to the needy citizens. The 16-hour helpline initiative ensures dry ration reaches migrants spread across the state. Citizens or migrant workers calling the helpline will either be directed to nearby ration store, if they have ration card or if not, their ration kit request will be registered.
With 25 advisors working in 2 shifts and supporting in multiple regional languages, we assisted BBMP in running the ration kit helpline.
Migrants Registration Process – BBMP
We partnered with BBMP for the registration process of migrants who want to travel back to home town. They were given shelter in BIEC, Bangalore where Vindhya had deployed 20 employees following all the required safety precautions, and ensured smooth registration process of all the migrants. We also assisted in performing medical screening of migrants.
Running Zonal Command Center – BBMP Mahadevapura Zone
We have partnered with BBMP for setting up and operating Zonal Command Center in order to assist the residents of Mahadevapura zone during the testing times of COVID-19. A team of 50, spread across 24*7 in 3 shifts, is responsible for assisting a COVID positive patient right from receiving the test report, assessing their health conditions, coordinating with hospitals and Covid Care Centers (CCC) to allocate bed for patients who needs assistance, arranging home isolation set up or ambulance to take the patients to either hospital or a CCC, checking the containment zones and preparing reports. We also provided medical counseling on call by arranging doctors to interact with patients and understand their symptoms and advice accordingly. Analytical reports were prepared on daily basis assisting BBMP officials to effectively handle the COVID spread in Mahadevapura zone.
Vox Populi : Work From Home Experience Survey
We have conducted a survey among our employees who work from home to understand the experience. There were a lot of learning and we have implemented required measures to address the requirements mentioned in the survey.Some of the interesting highlights are shared here:
Responsibility towards migrants and other needy citizens
After reading numerous articles on the impact of lockdown and woes of daily wagers and migrants, along with team at Vindhya and few volunteers, our MD, Ms. Pavithra YS began serving food packets to the needy citizens in the localities nearby Vindhya office. The team had served food for close to 35 days and provided more than 25,000 food packets for the citizens. Click here to read about it.