Salesforce (CRM) has debuted Work.com, a suite of new products and apps to help large and small organizations prepare their employees to reopen safely as establishments transition to life after coronavirus lockdowns.
The cloud-based customer relationship company will use the new site to offer a range of tools that include emergency response management, teaching workers new skills, and wellness assessments. Work.com also incorporates advice from top medical, health, government, and business experts on best practices.
In a recent Yahoo Finance interview, CEO Marc Benioff explained how he never imagined that Salesforce would be building products to help companies and communities navigate the reopening process during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sickened more than 3.6 million and killed over 250,000.
“We can see that we’re getting ready to get back to work,” Benioff said, pointing out that employees in South Korea will return to the office on May 11.
With more states and businesses gradually reopening, “all of us need to be ready to get back into the office and deal with the new work environment. We need to realize when we get back to work, the virus will still be there and need to be doing things to mitigate that environment,” Benioff added.
Salesforce will also use Work.com’s technology to make sure its own employees are safe in the new normal. According to Benioff, the company’s return-to-work strategy includes personal protective equipment for employees and temperature checks before they come to the office.
The cloud-based software giant will also adhere to social distancing protocols in the workplace — including the possibility of having people sit in certain parts of the office, Benioff explained.
Social distancing “will not go away,” the CEO said, adding that “the virus is still going to be out there when we get back to work until we’re vaccinated. So, we need to set up a work environment that makes it as safe as possible for our employees.”
For Salesforce, whose namesake tower is the tallest in San Francisco and another skyscraper adjacent to Bryan Park in New York City, a big challenge will be potentially crowded elevators.
“We all have to get in them — you have ten people jam in the elevator, the elevator door closes, not great in the pandemic situation,” he explained. “So, maybe there’s only so many people that can be allowed in the elevator at one point.”
Benioff also expects there might be rotating shifts of employees, which is one of the features offered on Work.com. The idea has gained increasing traction — most notably from Gary Cohn, the ex-Goldman Sachs exec and former Director of the National Economic Council.
The CEO explained that shift-scheduling is a staple of Work.com, “because you probably will have teams of employees — Team One, Two, Three. Maybe Team One is in the office on Monday. Team Two is in the office on Tuesday, Team Three on Wednesday.” Salesforce has already deployed this scheduling strategy in Singapore, he added.
Shift scheduling is useful because “if someone on Team One gets the virus, you don’t want to lose Team Two and Team Three. You want to keep their productivity going.”
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.