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What technology did HR need because of the pandemic in 2020?

2020 complicated HR teams' ability to help manage employees. Here's a look at three ways technology helped, including strengthening security and using new video platforms.

The move to remote work in 2020 because of the pandemic made HR's role far more complicated than in the past. In response, leaders turned to technology.

Many companies are continuing to encourage their employees to work remotely, if possible, to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure. Because of this, HR and IT are implementing tools that can monitor staff attendance, improve security and ensure employee compliance with the company's policies and procedures.

Here are some of the technologies HR is most commonly requesting from IT:

VPN tools and other security enhancements

Because of COVID-19, more employees are connecting to company networks from their home networks, where they may not be behind a robust or an enterprise firewall. Employees are using their home network to gain access to corporate systems and data, and their screens may be seen by family members, which can be a compliance risk if information is leaked.

To address these possible issues, many IT teams are rolling out VPN (virtual private network) tools and two-factor authentication (or in some cases, multifactor authentication). These tools provide additional security protection.

HR and IT are implementing tools that can monitor staff attendance, improve security and ensure employee compliance with the company's policies and procedures.

More advanced collaboration tools

Part of the "new normal" is discovering new methods of collaboration that provide enterprise-level security.

In many cases, HR and IT have also set up employees with audio and video conferencing platforms. Because many more employees are working remotely, one of the best ways for HR to attempt to replicate the interaction and collaboration provided by an in-office environment is to set up video chats. Collaboration tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Spark have also become more common. These provide a secure, easy and speedy means of connecting and help with content-sharing and collaborative work. With the move to remote work, more of these tools are tailored for enterprises and require controls such as two-factor authentication and encryption.

Time tracking and activity monitoring

This is likely to be the least popular tool that IT is deploying on employees' computers. Time and activity tracking tools on employees' computers allow HR to remotely monitor employees. The tools report what activities are occurring on the machine.

Time Doctor, ActivTrak and InterGuard are just a few of the tools available for this. They report productive and nonproductive time based on activity type, and some of them can take screenshots of what the employees are doing. When these tools are used, HR can see that employees are following the proper procedures and immediately be notified if an issue arises.

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