The Xerox Team Availability App.
Image: Xerox

As parts of the country attempt to reopen amid a recent surge of COVID-19 cases, enterprises are turning to tech to manage hybrid workforces.

IT decision-makers from global companies expect a phased return in the next year and a half, with 82% of employees on average expected back to the office in that time, according to Xerox research. The company this week introduced an app that can update employee availability and location in real time.

The Xerox Team Availability App, available from the App Store and Google Play Store, can be utilized in healthcare, retail, government, and financial services, as well as in sectors including manufacturing, telecommunications, airline, and hospitality, according to the company.

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“Knowing where and whether employees are working is critical to managing flexible work environments, where the percentage of employees sharing time between home and work locations grows,” the company said in a news release.

Xerox said it was rolling out the app internally to understand whether employees meet daily health criteria associated with COVID-19 to manage its phased approach to returning to the workplace safely.

The app quickly maps the availability and status of an employee population across locations in seconds for swift decision-making, the company said.

“Managing a distributed workforce during a continued pandemic presents unique challenges no organization has experienced before,” said Joanne Collins Smee, EVP and chief commercial, SMB and channels officer, Xerox, in a statement.

“Organizations need to know who is available and where so they can make better decisions when allocating resources and work,” Smee added. “This tool provides real-time knowledge to managers with distributed employee populations.”

According to Xerox research, organizations are actively supporting and investing in technology solutions for a hybrid workforce. More than half of respondents (58%) in a Future of Work survey said they would change their work-from-home policy within the next year.

Even so, the acceptance of such a distributed workforce has exposed some technology gaps, the research found, with companies increasing investment in remote technology resources (55%) or a hybrid of remote and in-office resources (40%).

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Xerox maintains its app has a speed advantage over other technology management tools that may take weeks to implement, saying the Team Availability App is ready in “just hours.”

UK’s Imperial NHS Trust was the first organization to pilot the app to access the status of essential workers across the Trust and its newly assigned locations at the height of the pandemic, Xerox said.

Officials with the organization said in a news release that the app “was deployed at lightning speed, and we got updates from staff on their availability in real-time. As a result, we could always make sure our patients were covered.”

Xerox said its app is a GDPR-compliant SaaS offering with a subscription-based model.

Once populated, the company said, the app provides authorized users with customizable and privacy-protected data for strategic decision making.