16 April 2020, Johannesburg: Braintree, the consulting and integration division of Vox, has co-developed a Crisis Communication Management App, which South African organisations can use to tackle Covid-19 – including keeping track of employees’ health status, and their movements to help with contact tracing should someone begin showing symptoms.

“The Braintree Crisis Communications App is a two-way communications platform that enables employers to monitor health, wellbeing, physical location and workflow of employees, and provides companies with data to keep track of when and where their employees are working during the Covid-19 pandemic. This provides critical information for HR and operations departments so that they can maintain service delivery while ensuring the health and wellbeing of their staff and the broader public,” says Heath Huxtable, Executive Head of Braintree.

The crisis communications app supports Microsoft Teams

Built using Microsoft’s Office 365 and Power Apps platform, the application integrates with Teams to provide employees with an easily accessible single point, where organisations can share Coronavirus related news and updates from reputable sources, changes to internal policy and procedures, updates on government regulation, tips and wellness updates for employees, and FAQs. It can even be used to advise workers of customers’ crisis policy changes, which may need to be taken into account before they can carry on with their work.

“As essential services companies continue working and organisations in other sectors resume in a phased approach post lockdown, everyone will be expected to take precautionary measures to combat the virus. While more people are aware of guidelines around social distancing, hand-washing and sanitising work environments; a vital tool in this fight against the global pandemic, is to be able to be able to track and trace employees if they begin to show symptoms,” says Huxtable.

The Braintree Crisis Communications App is a two-way communications platform.

To help manage this process, the Braintree Crisis Communications App relies on two sets of checks: health status and location. Organisations can have employees report on their health status on a daily basis, allowing managers to get a better understanding of how the pandemic is affecting their own workforce, and to ensure that medical treatment can be provided to those who require it.

“The location check meanwhile is especially useful for those organisations who still have field workers or a mobile workforce, giving them an accurate and reliable way of keeping track of the places workers have been, using GPS positioning and a map overlay. Should an employee begin to show symptoms, or be confirmed as having Covid-19; the app helps with contact tracing, and in ensuring that screening or testing carried out among people they might have been in contact with,” explains Huxtable.

Remote work made simpler

Remote working has seen employees turn to a myriad of applications to get their work done – all of which is likely to result in information overload. Having a single location where employees can share their details and get the latest updates helps prevent this and provides rich data back to HR. Data collected is presented to business decision-makers in the form of visual dashboards that are easy to understand. These include dashboards for employee roll call, location tracking, health checks, departmental reviews, and health status by department.

Given that the application is built on the PowerApps platform, it can be fully customised to become a full two-way communication and management tool that better empowers employees as they look to implement a new way of working; engaging with and taking care of employees to maintain productivity, and enhancing the effectiveness of their social responsibility programmes.

“Even as the lockdown in South Africa and around the world [is] eventually lifted, and practicing social distancing comes to an end, there will still be a shift toward remote working wherever possible. The restrictions brought about by the spread of Covid-19 have merely helped demonstrate to many organisations that employees can continue working if they are safe, empowered and enabled, and this trend is set to accelerate,” says Huxtable.