Some workers and customers will be returning to physical premises soon. Can technology help boost their transition and confidence?

After several months of working from home, staff transitioning back to office work during the gradual relaxation of lockdowns may need an adjustment period.

Until recently, businesses, governments, and educational institutions have primarily been using operational data such as hospitalization rates, availability of COVID-19 testing, etc., when evaluating which staff to send back to the office and in which chronological order.

While such actions can be made unilaterally at senior management levels, a good inclusive practice would be to consult the affected staffs. This will make them feel valued and will open a two-way communication channel to help both parties feel comfortable and confident about the return-to-office arrangement. Similarly, customers returning to business premises may need to feel safe and cared for.

Yet, such a consultation exercise is whole new ballgame for many businesses. Can technology be used to assist in the process?

New and free solutions available

The good news is that technology solutions are available to enable organizations to take the actions needed to ensure that people feel safe returning to work, and that customers feel confident engaging with businesses in person.

One automated solution, called Return to Work Pulse, facilitates leaders to continuously listen, understand, and act on employees’ health and safety needs so the teams can return to their offices with confidence. This is done by:

  • Understanding each employee’s needs to make a safe and positive transition back to work, regardless of whether teams have been working from home, staying off site due to temporary business closures, or staying home due to health concerns.
  • Evaluating what new policies organizations should adopt, such as health and safety protocols, as offices and other work sites reopen.
  • Determining communication needs about any new changes to company direction or job functions and roles.

Another automated solution, called Back to Business, helps organizations ensure customer confidence as businesses reopen. These solution includes:

  • Frontline Connect: empowers frontline employees to share customer insights about what is working and what needs to be adjusted as businesses reopen. This allows organizations to collect feedback at scale, identify specific at-risk customers, and iterate in real-time to ensure customers feel safe and continue to have a positive customer experience.
  • Customer Confidence Pulse: helps organizations understand the needs and preferences of their customers, including how customers feel about the company’s response to the pandemic, what changes the organization needs to make, how helpful the company’s interactions with customers have been, and how effectively the organization is in responding. As businesses begin reopening their doors, this solution helps organizations know they are taking the right actions to instill customer confidence.
  • Digital Open Door: allows customers to share feedback across web and mobile touchpoints. This digital open door enables open, two-way communication between customers and employees, helping organizations better serve their customers online while also preparing to reopen physical locations.

Both solutions, developed by customer experience specialist Qualtrics, are being offered free for a period of time, and are immediately available at and

Said Mao Gen Foo, Head of Qualtrics in SEA: “As businesses and workplaces begin to reopen, keeping a pulse on how customer and employee confidence and expectations change at each stage is critical to successfully navigating the new reality. These insights are an essential tool guiding business on the actions they need to take to ensure teams and customers feel safe, supported, and ready to return.”

According to Foo, recent Qualtrics research had revealed a customer- and employee- first mindset is key to building trust right now. Using the free range of Back to Business and Return to Work solutions can help businesses make smart and fast decisions on the timing and actions needed to take this approach and return to work the right way, and with confidence.

Said Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO, Qualtrics: “As we continue the fight against COVID-19, every government and business leader I talk to is trying to understand two things: how to keep their people safe and healthy and what information they can turn to as they look to reopen their workplaces and businesses. The trouble is everyone has been relying on the same operational data  to make their decisions, but they have no experience data to tell them how people feel. If companies open their offices again, will anyone return to work? If businesses open their doors again, will customers be comfortable showing up again?”

Smith said that these new solutions help organizations know what people need in order to feel confident returning to work, shopping, eating out, etc. “It is not enough to reopen. We have to do it in the right way, and that means understanding how people feel and what we can do to instil confidence that we can reopen and maintain health and safety,” he said.

If businesses trying out these solutions need deeper assistance, they can subsequently consider addition paid solutions that can help then to establish new workplace protocols, make technology and facilities decisions, improve leadership agility, and design effective employee re-boarding experiences.