Where is your organisation on the path to optimising your newly remote workforce?
The good news is you probably have the first few stages partially completed. You got laptops configured and assigned to staff. You set up VPN’s so they can access your network. You worked with IT to ensure everyone has access to the programs and software they need. Congratulations, you didn’t fall at the first hurdle, you kept the ship afloat.
Next, you quickly realised your traditional channels of communication are no longer practical. How do you facilitate a remote team meeting? Can you survive with email alone? Do you have something like Instant Messenger to ensure team members still have access to informal channels of communication? Well, you’re probably all video call experts by now. You’re using WebEx or Teams or Zoom for meetings. You are sending a lot more emails than in the past, and your making calls because you can’t walk to someone’s desk. But the important thing is you are talking. Lines of communication are open, and decisions are being cascaded. That box is ticked.
It might feel like it’s time to declare mission accomplished. The bad news is, you’re only halfway there. This sudden shift to working from home looks like it’s going to remain with us for some time. It’s going to become BAU. So, it is incumbent on you to make sure your new remote workforce delivers for your customers and shareholders just as they did in the office. To do that you need to fill in the last two pieces of the puzzle – Data and Control.
Data – Making data-based decisions is at the heart of every successful organisation. You need accurate and timely data that tells you how you are performing at a department, team and individual level. Have volumes of work increased? Has productivity dropped? How much time are you spending on video conferencing? How is sick leave trending? Are you completing your priority work within SLA? When everyone is together in one location, you can get by with less complete data. In a remote environment having complete data is absolutely necessary to manage effectively.
Workware+ solutions from ActiveOps enable Ops Managers to track work in and work completed, backlogs, diverted time, and productivity of all team members and digital workers in real-time whether they are based in an office or working at home.
An effective Management Process – this is essential to driving the use of the data from day to day and week to week. A process that will move an organisation from being reactive and basing decisions on historical information to one that is proactive looking at data on expected work and capacity. This process also includes the right touchpoints with team members to communicate the decisions.
The Active Operations Management (AOM) method has been developed to professionalise the role of operations team leaders, team members and managers.
With its roots in Lean, the AOM method provides a business language and framework for consistent daily, weekly and monthly planning and control meetings supported by a comprehensive on-line learning portal and community.
The ActiveOps solution has a weekly planning routine. The plan shows you in advance what you need to achieve and how much resources you have available to do it. Using this, managers know ahead of time what success looks like and can plan resource accordingly.
Effective Communication – Having communication tools and data are not enough. You need to involve teams in the process to get engagement in the plans. Regular check-ins are required to update everyone on the progress. These should be brief and to the point, thereby keeping them effective.
The AOM method includes a department planning meeting where data-based decisions are made by team leaders and managers and all plans are agreed. Daily huddles with staff are used to communicate these plans and communicate progress against plan. Review meetings happen weekly to reflect on what happened and what decisions were taken to improve future planning and decision making.