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How No-Code Is Helping Businesses Return to Work Following COVID-19

Unqork’s "Workplace Resilience - Return to Work" solution can help businesses organize and implement a data-driven return-to-work strategy.


Very few businesses in the US were actively preparing for a global pandemic in January of this year. By March, no company was left unaffected by COVID-19 or by the shelter-in-place orders that followed. 

In the last few months, companies had to find new ways to conduct business despite a suddenly-remote workforce (indeed, a recent Gallup poll found that, as of Memorial Day weekend, nearly seven-in-10 US employees were still working remotely all or part of the time.) However, some of the biggest workforce challenges may still lie ahead.

Organizations of all sizes have been tasked with responsibly reopening physical workplaces while mitigating the risk to employees, partners, and customers. This requires companies to make critical decisions related to logistics, facilities, and personnel as they transition to “the new normal.” 

This challenge is both unprecedented and evolving. As such, the response doesn’t only have to be robust, it has to be flexible. The good news is technologies like Unqork’s state-of-the-art no-code development platform can help businesses rapidly build a scalable digital return-to-work solution that addresses the specific (and changing) needs of organizations and their workforce. 

Creating a customized digital solution of this complexity would take months using traditional code-based development. However, with no-code, they can be designed, built, and deployed in a matter of weeks, if not days. Let’s jump into how no-code in general, and Unqork in particular, can help.

How No-Code Works

No-code is a category of cloud-based computing services that gives organizations the means to develop, run, and manage digital applications without the complexity of managing all of the parts themselves. No-code provides all the tools needed to build custom enterprise software on a single unified system.

As the name implies, no-code removes the need to write code from the development process. User-facing elements and application logic are built via an intuitive visual UI. All the technical aspects are automatically handled by the platform

This ease and accessibility accelerates the entire development process and allows organizations to focus on solving business challenges, rather than technical ones.

Unqork’s Return-to-Work Solution

Unqork’s "Workplace Resilience - Return to Work" solution provides enterprises with a set of configurable, pre-built features designed to help businesses organize and implement a data-driven return-to-work strategy.

Every company structure is different, including how they arrive at crucial decisions. With the Workplace Resilience solution, companies can build specific workflows for approvals related to office reopenings (and closings), thresholds for occupancy, visitor admissions, and other key elements of the return-to-office process. 

Watch the replay of our recent Return-to-Work webinar to learn more about how no-code can help organizations return to work safely and efficiently.

Businesses can use the platform to rapidly build and deploy an enterprise-ready solution with tailored experiences for management, employees, and office visitors. Here are three main areas where no-code can be applied immediately:

Data Collection and Analysis

Employee information gathering: The solution can be used to conduct employee health surveys on a regular cadence (daily, weekly, etc). This allows companies to discern the work-ready status of any team members accessing a shared space.

These surveys can be executed remotely (ideally before employees leave home for their shift) and handled discreetly. All surveys can be designed to minimize the gathering of sensitive information and all health data can be routed to only relevant decision-makers through easily-configurable role-based access control. Security is a foundational element of the Unqork platform (which is both HIPAA and GDPR compliant).

Automated internal contact tracing: The system can keep track of how employees interact in the office (e.g., shared workspaces or group activities). Combined with user-generated data, this feature can support internal contact tracing efforts and other preemptive safety measures (e.g., if an employee reports that a spouse received a positive diagnosis, this could trigger a workflow instructing the employee to continue working remotely for an additional 14 days as well as any co-workers they were known to have direct exposure to).

Data integrations and visualizations: The solution can integrate and map external public health datasets that can be used to inform decisions (e.g., sudden COVID spikes in a neighborhood where employees live). These graphic displays, which can be layered on top of employee health status data, can help management make informed decisions regarding logistics, workforce management, and contingency planning.

Employee Engagement

Secure communications: As organizations attempt to return to business as usual, the workplace almost certainly won’t be. The solution can provide workers with up-to-date information on logistics (e.g., “all employees must enter the east entranceway, and exit in the north to avoid congestion.”), policies (e.g., “face masks must be worn in the common areas”), or relevant information (e.g., latest wellness information and guidelines). 

Automated HR workflows: Employee input can be used to automatically trigger relevant HR functions for tracking of sick days, short-term disability documentation, and more. For example, if an employee reports a fever one morning this will automatically trigger a sick day and mandated secure health updates.

Facilities Management

Organize sterilization efforts: The solution can provide a cleaning and maintenance portal for facilities staff to manage and systemize sterilization efforts. Companies can create custom sterilization checklists, which can be used to collect real-time data so office managers and other employees will know when workspaces, conference rooms, and other shared areas have been cleared for use. 

In a previous technological era, building a robust, enterprise-ready return-to-work application might have taken the entirety of the crisis to be completed ...With no-code, they can be put to work in just a matter of days. 

In a previous technological era, building a robust, enterprise-ready return-to-work application might have taken the entirety of the crisis to be completed (indeed, research shows these projects can take anywhere between four to 12 months). With no-code, they can be put to work in just a matter of days. This acceleration is vital for these unprecedented times and why the city of New York turned to Unqork to help it mount a robust and rapid digital response as the pandemic ravaged the city.

How NYC Used No-Code to Transform Crucial Services

The impact on New York City by the initial wave of COVID-19 was as deep as it was rapid. Responding adeptly to the crisis meant developing a suite of robust digital tools that no one was planning—let alone even considering—just a month before. 

In order to accelerate the development of four enterprise-grade digital portals, the city’s COVID response team tapped the power of Unqork’s no-code development platform, which enabled them to design, build, and deploy most apps in just 72 hours. The suite included the:

COVID-19 Engagement Portal: The COVID-19 Engagement Portal allows residents to self-report COVID-19 data (in 11 different languages), which the city can use to map the impact of the virus and connect residents with critical services. 

PPE Donation Portal: As infection rates grew at an alarming rate in those first few months, the healthcare system found itself facing shortages of critical PPE, so the city worked with Unqork to rapidly build a PPE Donation Portal that allows individuals and organizations to safely donate much-needed medical equipment, including scheduling pick-up that respects social distancing. 

GetFoodNYC Delivery Portal: To provide food for COVID-19-vulnerable and food insecure New Yorkers, Unqork worked with the City to launch the GetFoodNYC Delivery Program which provided Taxi Limousine Commission-licensed drivers with the opportunity to earn money while making food deliveries to vulnerable city residents. 

“Project Cupid” Marriage License Hub: To ensure that citizens could still enter legally-recognized unions despite social-distancing barriers, the city worked with Unqork to develop a hub to process marriage license applications remotely. The Project Cupid platform digitized the entire process from application to identity verification to online fee payments to license generation.

Since going live, these support hubs have enabled the delivery of over 40 million free meals to residents, accepted donations of essential medical supplies, and allowed NYC residents to self-report how they are impacted by COVID-19.

Unqork has a proven track record working with some of the world’s largest enterprises to help them transform how they do business with unprecedented speed and flexibility. Now as businesses attempt to navigate a new and unpredictable landscape, we are here to help you make it through. Get in touch to learn how Unqork can help you get back to work.