Salesforce unveils tools for a post-pandemic return to the office contains apps and information resources to support organizations as business looks to resume operations in many countries.

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While governments prepare to reopen their economies following the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses face a challenge: ensuring that employees stay safe as lockdown measures are gradually eased. The outbreak began has infected more than 3.6 million people worldwide, killing more than 252,000 – including nearly 70,000 in the U.S.

To help companies navigate a safe return to work, Salesforce created — a set of applications and online resources to provide logistics support for public and private sector organizations as they bring staffers back to the office., unveiled on Monday, includes a “command center” that offers a dashboard overview of employees’ health status across various office locations. Companies can also collate data through private wellness surveys created using the platform, Salesforce said.

The command center will be available in June, alongside a shift management app designed to coordinate the return of workers to offices. 

With employees expected to maintain social distancing measures wherever possible, companies  could seek to stagger shifts to avoid an influx of people at offices - and in conference rooms, elevators and hallways - at the same time. Both tools will cost $5 per user each month. 

Also in the works is a contact-tracing application that lets employers gather data from individuals infected or exposed to the coronavirus, with a visual map of contacts and locations. The app is slated to be available as part of an emergency response management application suite, available later this month. It includes a new product - Emergency Program Management - alongside existing Salesforce products such as Health Cloud, Service Cloud and Lightning Scheduler. 

The Emergency Program Management software costs $50 per user per month as an add-on to Health Cloud and Service Cloud licenses in Salesforce Enterprise Edition.

A centralized platform for managing communications will be critical, not only coming out of the current pandemic, said Brent Leary, founder of research firm CRM Essentials, but to have in place for the next one, whenever it occurs. “So, as companies look to survive COVID-19,  a platform like could be a building block for creating a pathway to life on the other side of it,” he said. 

“The pandemic has taught us that fundamental, seismic behavioral changes can happen overnight at a scale we've never seen,” Leary said. “Creating business models and capabilities that can adjust and shift gears to switch from survival to expansion calls for tools and platforms that can facilitate digital transformation at scale.”

Alongside the apps, Salesforce plans to offer online resources such as best practices and analysis from leaders at business, health and government organizations through the site. Employees will also be able to access information on adapting to new ways of working in response to the outbreak via Salesforce’s online learning Trailhead.

The announcement builds on Salesforce’s recent efforts to support businesses during the early stages of the pandemic with the availability of Salesforce Care, a suite of tools and services available for free for 90 days. More than 8,000 companies have signed up to access the suite, which includes social media monitoring and data analytics, Salesforce said. 

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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