In the past two months, organisations have been further propelled into the digital age – not by choice, but by necessity. While some have struggled to adapt, others have excelled as they embrace remote working across teams and locations, while continuing to push their business agenda.
Of course, sector and business type play a significant role: organisations that are predominantly office-based may find it easier to adapt than others, which either cannot function to full capacity while adhering to strict government guidelines, or they have been ordered to close completely until an easing of restrictions is announced. For those who can continue to function, their flexibility as an enterprise – their agility – will be what sets them apart.
Any business can become agile. It is not about having the most cutting-edge technology in place; it is simply an organisation’s ability to quickly react and adapt in response to evolving customer needs, or a changing business environment. It is about doing the right thing at the right time, with the right people to achieve the right outcomes.
Today, organisations are still learning how to adapt, survive and thrive in the new normal forced by the coronavirus pandemic. Here are our top five tips on how to navigate the road ahead and ensure your business isn’t left behind.
This is all about people and the way we work. In order to learn how to adapt and create new ways of working, businesses need to experiment. The current crisis has forced businesses to act very quickly, sometimes in the space of a day. As a result, more conservative companies may find themselves dragged into this new business reality kicking and screaming. But by learning from the way they are doing things now and constantly tweaking them, organisations will quickly discover what works best for them and their people. In doing so, they will not only be better prepared to face this crisis head-on, but they will emerge a stronger, more resilient business for the future, too.
At Expleo, we are working with a utility provider that has done exactly this. The provider has gone from having virtually nobody working from home, to everyone. They achieved this not through investing in new technologies, but by using their existing tools in a different way. Teams are continuing to have social interactions through virtual coffee breaks; and they are moving away from the ‘always-on’ approach, instead figuring out blocks of time when people are at their most productive.
2. Ask for feedback
The reason why enterprises like this utility provider are finding success in the current situation is that they are listening to their customers and employees. Organisations must consistently seek feedback, allow time for retrospection and experiment with the solution. If something doesn’t work for your employees, it won’t work for your customers or business either.
3. Work together
As the weeks progress, employees working remotely may start to feel detached from the business and their colleagues. It is important to plot time in the diary for team meetings and workshops, so that leadership can touch base with everyone, offer support where needed and provide company updates.
Keeping up lines of communication is vital for the virtual workplace. In fact, organisations may even find that they can continue to innovate, or start new projects. The key is hyper communication; supporting phone and email conversations wherever possible with video to communicate. In the absence of physical face-to-face contact, the more complementary communication channels you use, this is when the best interactions and ideas will happen.
At Expleo, we are seeing great benefits from a collaborative, virtual approach. Teams deployed in various client sites are joining forces; sharing individual success stories, tools and techniques that may be replicated in other businesses, too.
4. Consult the experts
All businesses are frantically working to find their feet in the dawn of this new normal. As the experimental process will prove, not everything will work; it takes time and constant reassessment. Many organisations are seeking external guidance to help them redefine how they work, along with their place in the new business landscape.
Expleo has been helping organisations to transform and manage change for almost 20 years. Our teams of experts have cross-industry knowledge that can help businesses to manage the road ahead, while mitigating risks and ensuring quality remains central to everything.
5. Stick with it
These changes are not temporary. In the space of just a few weeks, we have seen rapid advancements in the application of digital technology and as a result, the world of business has changed irrevocably. Organisations that try to fully revert back to the traditional ways of doing business may not only find themselves challenged by their customers and workforce, but also by the new, more dynamic enterprises that will emerge from this crisis. We have learned to be smarter with how we work; make sure your business embraces that change and turns it into a competitive advantage.
David McGrath, Director of Enterprise Agility, Expleo Ireland
This is the second in a series of blogs from our team at Expleo Ireland, which we hope will provide you with helpful advice and insights for now and for the future. Last week, Phil Codd, Managing Director of Expleo Ireland, wrote this piece about rising to the challenges of the current emergency. Next up, Head of Process Automation, Rebecca Keenan, will share just how important Process Automation is to contingency planning and business continuity.
Want to know more about how Expleo can help your business through these uncertain times? Contact us today.