Get ready for a wave of returning-to-work tools

Salesforce is one of the first companies out of the gate, but if the Zoom copycats are any clue, others won’t be far behind.


May 5, 2020

Yesterday, Salesforce unveiled a set of software products aimed at helping businesses navigate really tricky territory — how to reopen their companies to employees and customers.

More states are easing their coronavirus restrictions and allowing businesses to open once again.

But it’s not clear that customers will come back right away, or that businesses will throw open their doors as soon as they’re allowed to (last week, 120+ Georgia restaurants said they would keep their doors shut for now).

For businesses that do reopen, one thing seems clear: Beyond throwing up a bunch of protective hardware (thermal cameras! plexiglass shields!) or removing furniture (we won’t miss you, shared desks), no one has an especially strong playbook for what the process should look like.

Salesforce wants to help

The company’s new portal at Work.com shows off everything it’s offering: contact tracing, emergency-response management, and other tools to help businesses manage shifts and monitor the health of their workers.

As Axios points out, Salesforce’s new products are some of the 1st software solutions aimed at tackling the reopening conundrum.

If the herd of Zoom copycats and Zoom-adjacent startups are any clue, you can expect more to follow soon. Handing out reopening advice could become its own cottage industry.

And the advice won’t always be free: Salesforce, for its part, will charge $5-$50 per user per month for its various tools.

Here’s why these offerings are important: As Simon Mulcahy, Salesforce’s chief innovation officer, told ZDNet: The way companies take care of people in the reopening period “will have an enduring impact on trust.”

In other words: You may want to get business flowing again, but if you screw up while you do it, it could cost you dearly in the long run.

Work.com is another big play from Marc Benioff

The Salesforce CEO made waves in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic by pledging not to lay off workers for 90 days — and urging fellow execs to follow his lead.

He also organized a huge effort to obtain 50m pieces of personal protective equipment for American medical facilities.

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