It’s been more than seven months of forced work from home for many of us, particularly in the United States.
That’s six months in which our spouses, our kids, and our parents became our colleagues. And I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel a little antsy.
If this Wall Street Journal article is any indication, I’m far from alone. Despite an initial boost in productivity, cracks in the remote work experience are clearly starting to emerge.
Admittedly, these are the concerns of a privileged few. While I want to return to the office, my job does not demand it. For others, return to work is not optional. It’s their livelihood, and the longer it takes, the more likely we are to experience a K-shaped recovery in which an educated class of professionals bounce back economically while everyone else struggles along.
That’s why we all want—and in fact, need—a safe return to work.
When the extent of the COVID-19 crisis became clear, ServiceNow dropped everything to ensure our customers could make that happen. The resulting Safe Workplace suite of apps has been live for three months. The apps have been downloaded by more than 800 organizations. Companies worldwide are using these solutions for contact tracing, workplace safety management, and employee health screening and readiness.
Over the last several months, we’ve continued to develop the apps in real time. We’ve implemented seven software releases. Despite a fluid global environment, we’ve made tremendous progress. Because of that progress, I feel confident advancing at least a sketch of what safe return to work looks like. This blueprint is battle-tested and anchored by ServiceNow’s Safe Workplace Apps.
Lessons from Coca-Cola European Partners
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler based on revenue, used our Workplace Safety Management app to respond “at warp speed” across six different countries—France, Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Bulgaria—to facilitate a safe, careful return to work with the right tools and protocols in place. CCEP’s journey back to work was nicely chronicled in last week’s ZDNet story and video interview, How Coca-Cola European Partners juggles supply chain, offices amid COVID-19.
Those protocols start well before executives even consider opening an office. When COVID-19 first hit, CCEP was positioned to pivot quickly and support the many needs of its employees. A longstanding ServiceNow HR Service Delivery (HRSD) customer, CCEP was able to seamlessly implement a Coronavirus support hub in just six days on ServiceNow’s employee service portal in order to centralize critical information in one place.
The hub had three uses. First, CCEP uploaded 252 articles in nine languages to update and reassure its employees. Second, the organization created a simple reporting feature that enabled employees to register their health status and quarantine situation. And third, managers used the portal to receive and provide updates to their teams.
Ultimately, these capabilities provided full visibility, so leaders could take the right measures to protect their organization.
“Our people make, sell and distribute the world’s best loved drinks across 13 countries in Western Europe, and felt an obligation to meet our customers’ demands now more than ever,” Nico Orie, VP of People and Culture at CCEP, said in a presentation to my team. “[The hub] was a great first step and was very easy for people to adopt. It was very fast in terms of deploying services and capturing data so we could report up on that. ServiceNow provided us with a flexible platform from which to deploy workflows to mobilize our return-to-work strategy for 23,000 office and warehouse employees across six countries.”
That initial response set the stage for CCEP’s return to work. The company landed on ServiceNow’s Workplace Safety Management app, part of ServiceNow’s Safe Workplace suite, and launched it in less than three weeks. Using the app, employees reserve workspaces, managers track office capacity, facilities automate cleaning shifts, and leaders have the visibility needed to oversee the entire operation.
“It's a total solution for everyone: employees, managers, facilities, and leaders,” Orie explained. “In this new normal, employees have to book everything before use––conference rooms, fitness equipment, etc. The app's simplicity removes the frustrations and uncertainty around this.”
Within two months of launch, nearly 6,000 CCEP office employees across six countries and a dozen worksites have used the ServiceNow app to safely reserve more than 40,000 in-office workspaces.
“The ServiceNow app was very well received,” Orie added. People were positively surprised about the speed and ease of use. We moved from paper and Excel-based processes to an easy-to-use digital solution, where we also integrated processes in the backend, for instance with facilities. In all of my years working in the HR space, I’ve never had such a positive, spontaneous response to an application before. There is also a ‘cool factor.’ People love that we are a leader in the digital HR world, and that in record time we provided them with a simple and elegant solution.”
“As everyone is experiencing, the COVID crisis is different in every country. It’s different in every site,” Orie said. “You need something that is very flexible.”
As the pandemic evolves and changes every day, ServiceNow continues to provide that flexibility. And while it’s no easy job to return to work, CCEP’s partnership with ServiceNow enables the company to feel confident it was the right choice for its employees. Orie and his Coca-Cola team are now looking to implement solutions for the rest of the year and 2021.
Orie’s advice for HR and facilities leaders planning their return to the workplace: “Go fast and don’t boil the ocean. Change management is a significant part of return to work, and technology is just one of the enablers.”
He said it’s important to invest in communications, training and instruction, and he emphasized the importance of senior leadership support.
“COVID-19 is the ultimate test of the agile approach––moving fast and having impact,” Orie added. “It's about progress over perfection. Stay flexible in your approach and how you deploy the ServiceNow applications. In some countries we have seen a 2nd wave (of COVID-19 cases), and governments recommending workers there not come into the workplace.”
With the current rise in cases, Orie said it’s likely CCEP will rely on the ServiceNow apps for some time to come.
This affirms our decision and commitment to build and update these apps over four months ago. No employee should fear that progress. When the world heads back to the office, we can help you make it happen safely.
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