Zoho launches BackToWork solution free to the end of 2020

Zoho BackToWork consists of six related modules, with a key one being an Employee Wellness module to define and score individuals, and use those scores to manage access and restrict individuals with failing scores from coming to work.

Today, cloud software suite vendor Zoho is introducing BackToWork, a modular solution designed to help government and private organizations safely transition employees from Work From Home environments back into the workplace. Zoho will be offering Back to Work free to customers for the rest of the 2020 calendar year.

Many, many vendors have come up with solutions aimed at the Work From Home market. Zoho was one of these, with their Remotely suite of applications, which has been offered for free, which will continue through August. BackToWork, on the other hand, is one of the very first offerings to address issues involved in returning some employees from home to a workplace.

“As countries and businesses are opening up slowly, one of the things that has become important is how do you keep the workplace safe, and track it,” said Chandrasekhar LSP, Zoho’s Canadian Evangelist. “To help an organization to function, you need to have people on the ground – critical people in security teams, and IT, and support. How do you ensure they can function? How do you identify how to get back to work safely? How do you effectively track a limited number of people and how they fit in, to stay within health department or corporate requirements?”

Chandrasekhar noted that one reason companies are starting to prepare to move employees back is because that’s what many employees want.

“With Work From Home scenarios, a lot of people now want to go back to the office, at least for a couple days a week,” he said. “Many people are stressed working from home all the time. Developing a safe way of getting these people back is where this whole application is coming from.”

Chandrasekhar indicated that sentiment for this kind of support initially came from Asian and Middle Eastern customers.

“There are a lot of government and NGOs out there who have to work on a daily basis, and who have to be in the forefront of returning to the workplace, but which have no tracking system,” he said. “We have been working closely with a lot of government agencies, mainly in Asia and the Middle East. In India, they want something like this to have safety in place.”

This same public and quasi-public sector demand isn’t yet in Canada.

“Some private organizations are looking at it,” Chandrasekhar said. “In Canada, the market is certain types of private organizations – manufacturing facilities, logistics companies, IT shops – and companies where you might only want 15 people of 50 to show up on a given day.”

BackToWork consists of six modules, which address all aspects of re-entering the workplace. It is part of the Zoho Creator low-code application creation platform.

The Workplace Setup module lets multiple buildings and locations be defined, with check in and check out policies using generated QR codes.

Asset Setup defines the assets that employees can avail on request, and lets these assets be managed, including requests for asset repair or replacement.

Employee Setup lets employees be added and managed, and levels of access determined. Roles can also be defined for tasks such as approvals and emergency contacts.

Volunteer Setup is for adding and managing company volunteer programs, while Communication Setup is for posting company-wide announcements, FAQs, and best practices.

These five modules are all relevant to any situation where facilities are being set up or repopulated, beyond the pandemic.

“This is all gold standard stuff in any facilities or HR application,” Chandrasekhar said. “It can stand on its own post pandemic.”

The Employee Wellness module, on the other hand, is specifically related to the pandemic. It allows management of workplace wellness by defining self-assessment, safe entry and travel policies.

“The self assessment can be done weekly, daily, every three days, or every fifteen  days, depending on ground reality,” Chandrasekhar indicated. Based on the assessment criteria, each individual is scored, and those who score below a set threshold, will be subject to policies which restrict access, which will likely involve them continuing to work from home.

“You can set up policies to restrict entry based on parameters you choose, like travel, or testing positive,” Chandrasekhar said.

BackToWork is currently available in five languages: English; French; Japanese, Chinese; and Arabic. Spanish, Portuguese, and German will soon be available. A Travel Management module is also in the pipeline, as are integrations with popular video conferencing platforms.

Given the economic situation, BackToWork will be offered free of charge until the end of 2020. After that period, it will cost $2 USD/user/month for all regions. It is available now.

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