Man sitting on plane

Coronavirus Response in Real Time: Employer Tracks Employee Illness and Travel Across 11 Countries

The coronavirus pandemic is not only a health crisis of immense proportions, but it has also created new and complicated business challenges – many of which we hadn’t considered even three weeks ago.

Faced with a sudden onset of new challenges – including travel restrictions, supporting fully remote teams, and starting to find and support employees who are getting sick – Companies are looking for fast and responsible ways to quell team uncertainty and protect the health and well-being of employees and their loved ones.

One such company is a global investment company, with an employee base spread out across 11 countries. Before COVID-19, 30 percent of their workforce would be traveling at any given time. Today we are exploring how this firm quickly solved some significant corporate requests using technology investments they had already made (and some quick coding).

The First Wave: Locating A 30% Remote Team

While the beginning of March now seems like a long time ago, we were really only beginning to see widespread concerns of Coronavirus spread to multiple countries at the beginning of March. However, as the investment team’s leadership began to hear more about the expanding concerns of the COVID-19 virus, they quickly decided they needed to track which employees were traveling, what groups they had had contact with, and most importantly, who was ill.

For the several weeks when expert guidance indicated  COVID-19 was a geographically limited virus, the company begin compiling a list of employee locations, sending all of this information to an email distribution list. Those needing to travel would get approval depending on the country of origin or destination and where they had traveled to recently. The distribution list also includes employees who had submitted that they were ill after travel.

However, as the COVID-19 crisis evolved into a global pandemic, the firm knew that emailing a group list around was not a sustainable procedure.

Standing up an App to Track Global Employees

The ServiceNow team at the organization was tasked with a critical request from their COO, to create a process where travel, travel approvals, notifications, and a tracker for those in transit could be quickly entered, approved, tracked and categorized by country.

A client for many years, the company reached out to Acorio’s Virtual Support Team to pull in some extra hands – and fast. They needed someone to quickly understand the unique requirements and define a process flow.

In times of crisis, there is always a silver lining. In some cases, it can be the speed and flexibility teams find to pull together.

The new App came together with impressive speed:

Within 4 hours

  • The support team had created an inbound form in the company’s existing  ServiceNow ITSM instance – ready to show to the entire client team.
  • The team has also created and tested a  “listener” feature to route and process inbound emails into cases
  • A new tracking dashboard was set up in their test environment.

Within 8 hours

  • The team implemented the process into their production environment including extensive testing.
  • They reviewed the full process and dashboard with their Customer Advisory Board and trained the Executive Crisis Response team to use the new resources.

Within 12 hours

  • Go live: The team set up a dashboard, executive reporting & summary documentation, including a process for entering, tracking, and reporting ill employees as well, giving them a scalable process to make critical decisions for their employees in an uncertain time.

That was all last week. We don’t know today what the new era of business will look like when defined by the COVID-19 lens. We don’t know how long this pandemic will last.

What we do know is that we have survived hard times together in the past by coming together as business leaders and as communities. We know that in past times of challenge for business, the companies who acted quickly and decisively armed themselves to minimize the overall negative impacts of economic downturns, and helped protect their employees.

We do know that the business climate will likely become more complicated in the next coming months. And we know that the Companies will continually work to stay ahead of the pandemic, working to protect the well-being of their employees and community – and they will ultimately responsible for leading us through this time of change.