Sustaining productivity and income in a time of COVID19
The coronavirus outbreak has affected a lot of human activities– which the World Health Organisation (WHO) now tag “pandemic” (a global outbreak).
Areas that used to be site attractions are now deserted, fellowships cancelled, exchanged programs left hanging, schools closed sporting activities suspended, Disneyland closed for only the second time in history and host of several events affecting millions of audience and thousands of individuals and organisations.
Travel bans, panic/emotional selling are not left out in stock markets. Of course, no one wants to be the next victim and that is why everyone has taken the “prevention is than cure tonic.” Even capitalists are not left behind, hence authentic my assumption that capitalism is emotional.
As many organisations resolve to work from home-virtually (suitable for the service sector), it is important that yours understands effective techniques to leverage technological tools.
Here are some tactics:
Check your preparedness: don’t just focus on the availability of a tool to use. You should examine your mode of operation critically to help you map out strategies that best fit your system, tasks at hand organogram and purpose.
Examine the task: identify tasks that can be done from home and those that cannot.
This will help you check excesses, know limitations of the tools and possibly have those involved come to work occasionally (depending on the consequences).
Identify the right tool: choose a specific tool for a different task. Google Dox allows more than one user to work on documents, Email allows for sharing resources, Slack is great for teamwork, Google hangout and Skype are good for video, webcast/globalmeet are great for meetings and training.
Whatever tools you choose, make sure you consider the ease of usage, interface and capacity.
Manage your employees: know your employees’ competence in using these tools, efficiency and effectiveness on tasks. Avoid micromanaging, but do followup. This can be done via surveys and analysing previous records.
Train employees: educate your team on how to work from home, mode of operation and proper use of the tools.
Set guidelines: give guidance on how each team are expected to work; the time, meeting schedules, deadlines and pattern of communication.
Feedback: making all communication channels easily accessible. Let team members know you are open to improvement, available to help within the case of difficulties.
Encourage teams to communicate hours/days ahead if they will be missing a deadline or whatever time frame you choose, in case of unforeseen circumstances beyond control.
For instance; explain that you have a system that works, but you will be open to explore tools that are effective for your team.
Evaluate: identify and develop ways to measure the productivity of the system at hand. less emphasis should be on efficiency, rather you should weigh in on the effectiveness to measure performance.
Organisations have always felt threatened when employees request the flexibility clause in a role description. But, times like this test organisations’ flexibility, adaptation, sustainability; and are opportunities to gather data that can help fashion the practices in the future of work. Whatever the outputs are, responsive organisations always emerge better.
Tomori Uriel is the Lead Consultant, Savofns.