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9 June 2020
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Providing Emergency Aid: to Whom, How, and When

As life after the self-isolation is getting back to normal, businesses, society, and the government face a range of problems, some of which require an immediate response. ICL Services makes efforts to minimise the impacts for both individuals — our employees — and society as a whole. Discover what we did to help during the pandemic and what action will be taken to recover.
For clients
In 2019, ICL Services launched a teleworking project, which included adapting all processes and the company’s infrastructure to the new format. So when the spread for the novel coronavirus drove most of companies to revise their processes and adopt teleworking early this year, we had an advantage in terms of money and organisation at our side. We made use of the advantage and helped a range of our partners to switch their business processes to remote operation within 14 days.

We understood the needs of the business and were willing to share our experience, so ICL Services developed a consulting service to support our partners in designing and implementing teleworking formats. The service includes two approaches to switching business processes to remote operation — a project approach, which implies that the transition is gradual, and a task force approach, which strives to solve a problem within short timeframes in emergencies without damaging efficiency and security.
Apart from that, we offer everybody checklists for switching to remote working on request to pr@icl-services.com with the following phrase as the subject: ’I want a teleworking checklist.’ We realise that teleworking is going to be a long-term trend and are willing to share our experience and resources to help solve the problem.

Throughout the pandemic, experts at ICL Services were rendering services in a 24/7 format, which supported the operational processes of our clients to allow them to focus on strategic tasks. For example, we helped the largest Russian and foreign food retailers to relieve the burden that fell on them. The positive feedback from our clients confirms the high quality and significance of the services we render.

Our experts agree that an unconventional and creative approach to implementing robot-aided processes and AI technologies will allow companies to make through the current economic emergency.

We can see that clients have a keener interest in business automation tools today, such as chatbots, voice bots, and other solutions that can receive a customer’s request, register it with the system, and transfer to the engineer to solve it. Our AI-aided Service Desk service is a perfect solution in this situation. Its mission is to reduce downtime and increase the efficiency of the client’s business.

Amid the present global recession, it is vital for businesses to optimise their costs. To help them do it, we offer such services as PRO-Vision based on process mining, digital transformation services, workplace support, etc.
For employees
In the very first days of the self-isolation regime, the companies put together a task force to address urgent issues, which included switching employees to teleworking, bringing back those who happened to be on business trips abroad, and providing those who remained to work in the office with pass cards and protection equipment.

To prevent the spread of false information and decrease the feeling of uncertainty, we launched a corporate online portal with access from mobile devices to answer questions about the current work situation and keep our employees updated about daily changes evoked by the government’s decisions.
We understood that preserving trust relationships remotely requires more communications. Therefore, we were regularly giving our employees updates about the company’s state and conducted online events — parties, home concerts, language club meetings — throughout the period of self-isolation. To monitor their mental state, we conducted polls among our employees about how they felt teleworking, which allowed us to identify the pros and cons of the format. We managed to keep all members of our staff despite the pandemic. Moreover, ICL Services has been recruiting new employees, now in a remote format.

The company has designed a plan for a gradual return of employees to the office. From 15 June, one third of the employees who need office space the most are scheduled to switch back to the habitual offline working format if the epidemiological situation permits. However, if an employee decides against it, we have considered a case-based teleworking option. If the employee’s performance is not hampered in this case, they may switch to teleworking permanently, with all necessary changes captured in their labour contracts.

Returning to the office, employees will definitely face a range of organisational and psychological changes. We will have to change workplace layouts, habitual communications models, and workplaces themselves in order to observe the prevention rules. The changes were communicated to employees in advance, which, as we believe, will partially reduce the surprise effect and discomfort.
For society
The company has been following its principles of social responsibility by facilitating the economic development of regions, investing in human resources, and regularly participating in charity events and social projects. During the pandemic, we quickly established cooperation with the Ministry of Health and provided it with solutions required in the current coronavirus situation. Speaking about ICL Group of Companies on the whole, schoolchildren and medics from one of Kazan’s clinics were provided with computers for remote learning during the self-isolation period.

The experts at ICL Services have been analysing the situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus and monitoring global and Russian IT markets. The results are used to produce forecasts about how the situation can change. It is our good practice to have a plan B that allows us to adapt to the existing conditions and help our clients.
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