The Omicron Variant Has Arrived – What Does That Mean For Businesses?

Written by
Emily Heath
on

The name on everybody’s lips is gonna be…Omicron. Once again we are faced with a whole new COVID variant and a whole new crisis. At this point we are beginning to think that COVID may have been inspired by Jaws 2, ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water’, seems to be the motto that this impossible virus is living by.

 

According to The New York Times, Omicron, the new variant first detected in Botswana, has mutations that scientists fear could make it more infectious and less susceptible to vaccines — though neither of these effects are yet to be established. Most confirmed cases of the variant are contained to southern African countries, but there are worries Omicron could have spread more widely before scientists discovered it, and a handful of cases have started to pop up around the world.

 

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

With restrictions coming back into place, more administration and communication tasks for companies are required if they are to implement the new changes successfully. Both front facing and backroom staff will need to be briefed on any new processes or tasks they will need to work on as a result of this update.

 

There may also need to be more communication with staff, customers and the public in regards to the new restrictions, now people need to wear face masks or even check in on entering the business for contact tracing purposes.

 

If processing COVID passports is a new process that has been introduced in your country, a lot of changes may be required. Up until now, many businesses in the hospitality and events sector have only asked attendees to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test within the last 48 hours via a photograph or the logging of the test on the NHS app and a confirmation text. COVID passport management will require its own unique intake processes and potential new training for staff who will be managing this on the frontline.

 

If more people are now also working from home, there will need to be greater communication with them online e.g communication through Microsoft Teams, announcements on Workplace from Meta, Zoom calls and so on. If their job role changes at all when they have to work from home, this will also need to be made clear to employees and allowance for any FAQs or support they may need as a result of these sudden changes.

 

How Bots Can Help

Bots and Digital Assistants can easily connect to already established communication platforms used by companies such as Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Meta. They can remove a lot of the heavy lifting needed for multiple company updates and complex communications between different areas of the business.

 

Whether it be sending out important alerts to the whole company or certain segments of staff, answering questions, sending out new process checklists that need to be adhered to, or ensuring staff read and agree to new working guidelines and practices. We saw a lot of companies utilising our platform to build crisis response tools when the pandemic first hit, and while we had hoped this would be a short term solution – for many customers these applications are still being utilised today.

A great example of a company that has mastered the use of bots for this purpose is Globe Telecom, one of South East Asia’s biggest telecommunication providers.

 

During the pandemic, they had an urgent need to build bespoke tools that would help keep their 8,300 employees and frontline staff informed and safe.

 

With a 98% adoption rate on Workplace from Meta, Globe Telecom already had a channel where their staff could be reached – whether they be in the office, at home, or on the shop floor. The problem was the sheer amount of work involved in delivering such vital information to thousands of distributed staff was too much for Globe Telecom’s team to handle manually. And with things changing on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis they needed to use technology to help them adapt and respond in time.

 

With the help of The Bot Platform, they created a custom bot on Workplace with the catchy acronym DUDE (Digital Usher for Disasters and Emergencies) to help manage a complex national contact tracing system while also keeping their staff informed on important company news and health related updates.

One of the biggest impacts of using The Bot Platform for Globe Telecom has been the speed and agility in which it’s enabled them to respond and react to an unprecedented crisis that’s impacted every employee across the organization. By empowering members of their Employee Experience team to easily build their own work tools, they’ve been able to solve communication and operational challenges with bespoke software solutions that they’ve created themselves.

DUDE was built in just 8 days and serves as an automated digital colleague being used by 76% of staff at Globe Telecom every day.

 

New restrictions will likely mean a lot of FAQs from your team about how this impacts them and perhaps more questions from customers too.

 

Answering all those questions is a time consuming task for HR and Internal Comms teams. Not having the answers, or an easily understood way of getting answers, can cause major uncertainty from staff. And all the while middle managers are put in difficult positions where their direct reports are bringing these questions to them.

 

There are so many ways that bots and digital assistants can help with crisis communications and processes, and having a pre-planned destination where staff can go will provide a far more consistent approach for staff, HR, Internal Comms and management teams alike.

 

Setting up your own bespoke bot on our platform is as quick and easy as sending a message. We are trusted partners of Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Meta and are used by global organisations in the technology, retail, hospitality, finance, pharmaceutical, entertainment and manufacturing industries.

 

Get in touch with us today and find out how we can level up your business process and empower you to build a better employee experience.

Interested in learning more? Drop us a line below.

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