Proper workforce planning needed for employees’ safe return to work

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It is believed that workplaces may be among the leading areas that can cause the spread of the COVID-19 virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and public health authorities, when someone with suspected COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or even simply exhales, infected fluid droplets may land on phones, computers, or desks that can be touched by non-infected individuals.

To continue operations yet prevent infection, employees were advised to work from home (WFH) to avoid any health risks. However, a recent study by the Asian Development Bank ( revealed that 57 percent of businesses in the Philippines said a WFH setup is not possible for all workers due to major disruptions in operations.

Now that the economy is slowly relaxing and more businesses are starting to reopen, proper workforce planning is needed for employees’ safe return to work. However, “manual” planning of employees’ return to work may lead to more dangers since handling of employees’ data is tedious, time-consuming and prone-to-errors. An option is automation so that senior management can focus on what is critical – guiding the business through this unprecedented time, communicating with employees and caring for them, and strategizing and positioning the business for the future.

France-based Dassault Systèmes, a leading software firm, said their workforce management solutions called Back to Office Workforce Planner. a part of the DELMIA Quintiq Workforce Planner, helps businesses create a plan based on the desired office occupancy, generating and assigning office “shifts” to employees intelligently and efficiently.

The company itself implemented the system in its offices in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore where they implemented a phased approach for workers’ safe return to work. They started with 25 percent office occupancy, then slowly up to 50 percent. Ultimately, the aim is to return all employees in a few months but subject to relevant government regulations.

Five critical factors were considered in planning employees’ return:

  1. Government Restrictions: Different local government units and municipalities have different restrictions and social distancing rules that also apply in the office workspace.
  2. Business Requirements: While many businesses allow a WFH setup, there are essential employees that are required to work in the office.
  3. Business and Role Priorities: Depending on the employees’ roles in their respective departments, there are those who should be prioritized to work in the office.
  4. Personal Circumstances: People are the core of business. Each employee may have their own unique circumstance – taking care of young children or elderly parents to not having the facility to WFH that must be taken into consideration.
  5. Personal Preferences: Some people may prefer to work from home or in the office. These preferences should be taken into account as well.

The Back to Office Workforce Planner is an adapted version of the DELMIA Quintiq Workforce Scheduling, which includes a suite of tools to optimize the workforce in governments, public services, airports, corporations and factories.

According to Dassault Systèmes, the Workforce Planner is a feature already integrated within the DELMIA Quintiq Workforce Scheduling tool. The DELMIA Quintiq Workforce Scheduling integrate planning and scheduling processes in a single workforce planner software for full visibility and control over the entire workforce process – from long-range capacity planning to daily task scheduling and real-time rescheduling.”

As the workplace environment drastically changed, this tool can help provide valuable real-time insights that drive efficiencies, increase first-time fix rates, improve customer service and retention, and ensure happier, more satisfied employees.

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