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Unexpected is the new normal

September 15, 2020

The tremors that rocked traditional workplaces exposed their Achilles’ heel – the lack of resilience in business when remote working is required. While some are still waiting for the turning point, both executives and the general workforce are struggling to sort through the implications.

We harnessed our client experience and market insights to define the key contours and mitigations. Common challenges fall into two categories: remote ways of working, such as workforce concentration and management; and technology, such as connectivity and accessibility, technology platform adoption/readiness. Just like the current situation, future unexpected events can cause similar, tangible impacts on organizations. The digital workplace has never been as important as it is right now.

At Capgemini Invent, our Digital Workplace offering brings expertise from our Future of Technology capability unit to support you in the “new normal” era. Here “digital” is more than a buzz word. Digital Workplace is a pragmatic approach for organizations to reap day-to-day and long-lasting benefits. You could just try to make things better by adding a tropical beach virtual background for your conference calls. Or you could reap the real, fundamental benefit of promoting productive remote working.

These tips can help promote a healthy daily working routine for remote workers:

  • Start your workday by using the time saved by not having to commute for physical, mental, and timetable preparation.
  • Align with your team by setting up regular meeting cadences such as daily scrum “stand-ups” and retrospectives, based on clear rules of communication and channels.
  • Maintain work efficiency via real-time/co-edit meeting minutes – with non-work app alerts turned off.
  • Make meetings great again, not just by muting your mic, but also by assigning facilitators for virtual tool guidance and time control.
  • Include online coffee breaks to have eye contact and avoid feeling isolated.

If you are struggling to manage your organization, the following tips could help:

  • Define a new framework to convey messages and best practices about remote working, data security, and right tools to use.
  • Support managers by sharing best practices for remote onboarding, managing “distributed” teams, and detecting psychosocial risks.
  • Reinvent social interactions – organize collective rituals and explore new digital communication channels for team bonding.
Figure 1: Remote working main challenges

The hidden bottom of the iceberg, technology challenge is not straight forward. Digital Workplace will also power core operations with technology – including the virtual tools that have  probably overwhelmed you recently. G Suite, Office 365, WebEx, Slack, etc. are commonly used industry tools that are rarely leveraged to their full capability. Based on identified needs, e.g. virtual workshops, you can also diversify your digital toolkit to go beyond the “usual.” It is important to design a clear and durable governance and to streamline use with a sharp digital toolkit in compliance with your IT security framework.

Figure 2: Digital workplace tool examples

By tackling these challenges of remote working, a state-of-the-art digital workplace will allow your employees to work remotely in a productive, collaborative, and secure way. It will also help maintain continuity of your entire value chain by sustaining the partnerships with your key stakeholders.

One must-do throughout this journey is to help your organization build a dedicated team to ensure continuous management of the unexpected at the highest level and to enable decision making, e.g. to start with assessing by measuring the impact with appropriate metrics, followed with structured communication and support planning and deployment.


Kay Lui

Management Consulting

Capgemini Invent