There’s little doubt that life and work will be different when we eventually emerge from the current crisis. Organisations in the private and public sectors are beginning to prepare for this ‘new normal’ by rethinking several aspects of how they operate.
In this blog, we’re looking at three of the key priorities.
1. Empowering frontline workers
If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything already, it has highlighted our reliance on frontline workers – nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, supermarket staff, care home workers, food manufacturing teams, local authority workers, utilities engineers and emergency services, to name a few. Many of these were listed as key workers in order to keep essential services operational. Without them, we simply couldn’t cope.
So important are these workers that with demand peaking and overall numbers reduced by illness and isolation, tens of thousands of temporary staff and volunteers have been recruited by the NHS, supermarkets, care homes, pharmacies and manufacturing businesses.
Yet these frontline workers are not well served by technology. Studies suggest that around 80% of the global workforce do not have a desk. They are remote, dispersed or mobile, rather than having a fixed workstation. The same research suggests they receive only a tiny fraction of overall technology spending.
A focus for the future will be empowering these teams with technology that helps them work more effectively – saving them time, guiding their work, improving communication, encouraging collaboration and introducing automation to ease burdens.
2. Coordinating complex processes
The Covid-19 crisis has opened our eyes to something that has often been overlooked. It has put a piercing spotlight on processes. These are the foundations of our daily work and, in many cases, they haven’t attracted the attention they deserve. Frankly, we’ve been too busy doing things to look at how we do those things, and whether there might be a better way.
The impacts of the pandemic have pulled processes from the background to the forefront – not only in terms of immediate measures to deal with the crisis but in terms of shaping how an organisation continues to operate (if at all) in this changed environment.
Processes are vital to the fulfilment of strategic imperatives, ranging from risk management to health and safety, business continuity and supply chain management.
In the current crisis, existing processes have had to be quickly adjusted and new ones developed. But how are these processes defined, distributed to workers, tracked and analysed? That will be an increasingly important question to answer.
Organisations need to know the right people are doing the right things, in the right places, at the right time. If they aren’t, managers need to know where and why, in order to take action.
The question of how quickly you can adapt has never been more urgent. If agility was once a contender for board-level attention, it’s now the odds-on favourite. Uncertainty is the new reality and only the most adaptable will thrive.
Deriving live, actionable data from daily processes also drives better decision-making, not only identifying and addressing weaknesses but foreseeing opportunities to develop new products or services to satisfy emerging needs.
By analysing and reshaping regular processes, organisations strengthen their ability to adapt to new demands and challenges.
3. Managing the flow of information
Information overload has been a characteristic of the Coronavirus pandemic – so much so that social media companies and government bodies have been collaborating intensively to deal with the threats posed by fake news. Getting the right information to the right people has become a vital imperative in order to empower professionals, control the spread of infection, protect the public and maintain some level of continuity.
Organisations in many sectors have stepped up their communications, both internally and externally, to keep employees, stakeholders, customers, supporters and patients informed. This is a particular challenge for large organisations with widely dispersed workforces. How do they ensure consistent information is distributed to mobile workforces when it’s needed?
The rapid roll-out of guidance has been crucial in coordinating efforts to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. But it works in the other direction too. How do staff members report back on their adherence, without unduly interrupting their most pressing priorities?
In the near future, this will be a key concern. Recent experience has highlighted the importance of real-time communication, collaboration and coordination.
The intense challenges of the current crisis would have been hard to imagine, even just a few weeks ago. But for organisations to survive this ordeal, maintain some degree of continuity and lay the foundations for future resilience, large-scale change must be embraced as a necessity.
Checkit specialises in Connected Workflow Management, enabling organisations to digitise essential operational tasks, engage their workers in consistent patterns of behaviour and gather actionable data that drives continuous improvement.