In times of crisis, the way a company responds can make all the difference. When the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck, TELUS International worked quickly to assess and mobilize its workforce globally to adapt to changing conditions. Within two weeks, the organization enabled more than 22,000 team members to safely and securely transition to work from home while continuing to provide customer support to clients during these uncertain times. For any brand embarking on a journey to transition its team to remote work, there are several factors to consider. While a strong technology partner is crucial to enabling this shift, a solid corporate culture is just as critical in ensuring a seamless transition. Here are some high-tech, high-touch considerations when transitioning to a remote workforce. High-tech: Leveraging a collaborative partnership In a recent blog post, the partnership between Google Cloud and TELUS International was featured as a key component for the recently launched TELUS International Work Anywhere solution, a holistic work-at-home model that combines people, processes and technology to enable a seamless remote work experience for employees. A key part of that solution is the ability to leverage a virtual desktop interface (VDI) to securely connect employees to work on any device from anywhere that has a secure internet connection. As part of TELUS International’s cloud partner ecosystem, the company found a reliable and like-minded partner with itopia, a cloud-native automation and orchestration solution enabling Desktop as a Service (DaaS) on Google Cloud. As virtual desktops are hosted in a secure cloud environment, they can be deployed quickly and easily through a unified approach, thereby streamlining the workload on IT teams during the deployment process and beyond. Notably, this collaboration with itopia helped TELUS International securely and efficiently deploy many of its team members to work from home in record time. "With our team members across the globe providing digital and customer experience support to some of the world’s largest brands, the pandemic brought the critical need to mobilize our workforce to ensure the safety of our team while also supporting the business continuity needs of our clients," said Jim Radzicki, CTO, TELUS International. “Through our partnership with itopia, we were able to quickly and securely incorporate remote virtual desktop as a key component of our Work Anywhere solution, enabling our team members to rapidly shift to work from home while continuing to support our customers.” Creating a secure connection TELUS International and itopia’s partnership demonstrates the importance of cloud-based workstations, particularly as employers need to ensure the data security of their teams while working remotely. As Jonathan Lieberman, CEO of itopia shared, “Equipping enterprises with secure, remote workspaces is of utmost importance for maintaining productivity in these trying times and beyond.” With DaaS, critical data is stored and managed in a secure cloud data center, not on end-user devices, preserving the integrity and security of sensitive and confidential information. Businesses can rest assured that if an employee’s device is ever lost or stolen, the data remains secure. Moreover, from a security and compliance perspective to scalability and operational efficiency, the ability to provide safe and reliable access to remote desktops for employees is crucial for business continuity, particularly in times of uncertainty. By migrating on-premises VDI to Google Cloud, brands can feel secure that compliance controls are kept in place, regardless of geographic location. From a scalability standpoint, because cloud-based virtual desktops can be deployed quickly and easily, the ability to scale up or down to meet fluctuating workforce demands can be addressed rapidly. High-touch: Elevating engagement and culture from the home office The future of work is shifting as people around the globe have migrated to working from home in droves. The long-term effects of this shift are yet to be determined, yet one thing is for sure, we are all navigating alternate ways of working to maintain productivity while trying to stay connected and engaged with colleagues and customers. There is further research from Gallup that shows that employees who are engaged are 45% more likely to report higher levels of adaptability in the presence of change and that engagement and well-being are key factors in driving employee performance. TELUS International’s global-leading engagement of 85% (as measured by Kincentric) and its caring culture were critical factors in its ability to rapidly transition to a new remote working model. As an example, some TELUS International team members even took on the role of delivery driver by repurposing employee transport shuttles to deliver office equipment - bringing to life an example of one of the company's core values - “spirited teamwork”. Once cloud-enabled with virtual workspaces in place, the home office can support employee connection, productivity and engagement similar to a physical workplace. Whether at home or in the office, these remain vital factors to maintaining high engagement and ultimately, strong customer satisfaction (CSAT). Bringing it all together In these challenging times, it can be difficult to stay connected and engaged with your teams while minimizing disruptions to service levels for clients. But, making a concerted effort in this regard can make all the difference. Notably, during this transition, TELUS International saw an increase in CSAT scores by 2-3% for certain accounts, demonstrating that it is possible for team members to be even more engaged in their new working environments. In the end, taking a high-tech, high-touch approach can very well be the factor that ensures consistent and sustainable success with remote work.