Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an expanded partnership and the availability of a joint solution to help business and community leaders plan, schedule, and monitor a safe return to the workplace for employees.

As organizations begin to address how to prioritize safety in bringing employees back to the workplace, they must consider a myriad of factors, including health, local guidelines, governmental policies, employee sentiment, facility readiness, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Every organization has a unique strategy that must be mapped to their specific facilities and workforce requirements. Together, IBM and Workday are delivering a solution to support and accelerate their customers’ return to the workplace by combining planning capabilities with critical employee, community health, and workplace data.

The integrated solution combines:

  • Workday Adaptive Planning at the core, which is used by more than 5,200 companies today for planning, forecasting, and modeling, as well as Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), which provides critical employee sentiment data that offers insight into worker readiness to return to the workplace.
  • IBM Watson Works, a set of products that embeds Watson artificial intelligence (AI) models and applications to help companies as they navigate many aspects of the return to workplace challenge, including deciding when to return to the workplace, connecting employer data to entry privileges, and managing facilities and adhering to new protocols.

Today’s announcement builds on return to work offerings from Workday and IBM, as global customers turn to innovative solutions to better manage their people and finances in today’s changing world. Workday and IBM Services will work together with customers on planning, program, and implementation tasks.

Balancing Workforce and Workplace Supply and Demand
The integrated Workday and IBM solution is designed to deliver comprehensive return to workplace planning that balances workspace demand, by location and site, against the supply of reduced facility capacity. Key to the solution is the inclusion of dynamically changing data from multiple sources that address the complexities involved in continuous planning, a requirement for workforce and workplace planning today. Specifically, the solution can help customers:

  • Model site capacity and evaluate employee roles and eligibility for return to the workplace. Model scenarios to plan the demand for workspace against supply, given reduced site capacity based on health and safety guidelines, and model prioritization of the return of workers based on job roles and eligibility.
  • Assess community risk and workplace readiness. Identify COVID-19 trends for each business location and where workers live to enable site leaders, HR leaders, and workforce and workplace planners to use data-driven insights to help make decisions and plans around facility re-openings.
  • Plan for critical supplies. Track critical supplies by location to help ensure there is enough PPE—such as masks, gloves, and sanitizer—available for workers at each location and to maintain inventory.
  • Evaluate workforce sentiment to inform return to work demand. Model return-to-workplace scenarios using data on workers’ preferences, sentiments, and concerns, gleaned from survey data and their preferences for work location such as on site, work from home, or hybrid.
  • Continuously provide site readiness and worker health and safety data to customers to inform return to workplace plans. Leverage community risk score trends in real time to help leaders make timely decisions to sequence the return to the workplace. As an extended capability, customers can also assess workers’ self-reported health status and ongoing eligibility.

“Today’s CHROs are now challenged with managing the complexities of integrating real-time site and worker data in a way they’ve never needed to before, moving workforce planning from strategic to mission critical nearly overnight,” said Kshitij Dayal, general manager, Planning Products, Workday. “Combining the power of Workday—including Workday Adaptive Planning to create comprehensive plans and models—with IBM Watson Works can help accelerate customers’ return to workplace planning with a sustainable solution to balance workforce and workplace supply and demand in the ever-changing world.”

“Keeping employees safe during the return to workplace process is of critical importance to business leaders across industries,” said Kareem Yusuf, Ph.D, general manager, AI Applications, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software. “By partnering with Workday on a joint solution, we’re extending the capabilities delivered by Watson Works to help customers gain greater agility to respond to ever-changing working conditions and evolving business needs. Together we are helping organizations overcome the complexities involved in continuous planning to ultimately improve workplace readiness.”

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