It has been a rough few months. The stock market has declined, furlough is now a common word, R rating is real thing and a recession looks imminent. More recently we have seen companies “right-sizing” and in recent weeks we see the government across the UK lifting certain restrictions – we are still in the grasp of a global pandemic, but is there a silver lining?
Employers and employees of every size and every nature are striving to return to work into an environment we hear is being defined as the “new normal “or is it?
To have a “new normal” we must have had an “old normal”. I wonder if there was such a thing. Normal for one person, one company or one department is certainly not normal for another.
Who or what is defining your digital strategy – Covid-19 or the board?
The past few months have been challenging for many of us on many different levels. Companies moth balled, certain verticals effectively closed for the period, workers furloughed, schools closed, facilities shut and travel restrictions all for the greater good of us all.
Our employees and colleagues should be able to work in a safe – healthy environment and to easily, consistently, and securely communicate and collaborate with customers, suppliers and peers using the right devices, applications, and services.
What is the “new normal”, what does it look like and how will we work for the foreseeable future?
Normal is defined by you and me and our people. Flexibility, availability and the requirement for us to be agile in a world that is changing, morphing, adopting and redefining with the effect of the pandemic impacting global or local economies and society at different times in different regions around the world as we address new or future ways of working. It is a time to be proactive not reactive. Employees and customers need to feel engaged and that they are part of the solution and not part of the problem.
The new normal may never be normal again. It will be different. The ways we offer customer service, the way we sell or the methodology we use to manage teams or the way in which we communicate, marketeer or interface with others will need to be agile.
The “never normal again” could be the inspirational leap we as business leaders need to enforce the age-old principle that work is something we do, not somewhere we go.
For some working from home for 12 weeks or so has been enlightening, difficult for others and downright impractical for many. However – it could be beneficial to business and across many aspects of day to day life.
For us, as business leaders it’s time to embrace different, embrace a new culture a new work life balance, a new way of being productive, of being optimal and a new way to inspire, motivate, manage and innovate with new ways to enhance business potential.
Could Covid -19 be the catalyst for change and digital enablement for the many not just the few? Business’ need a stimulating environment to thrive, progress and provide excellence in customer service and business development. Managing, motivating, innovating or prospecting and selling will not be the same for the foreseeable future, therefore how will you and your team achieve positive results?
Of course, it is not all about technology – technology can’t and won’t fix everything. I often see vendors marketing material depicting perfectly sterile people in perfectly lit environments with perfect walls behind them using the vendors version of video conferencing. All in an ideal world.
Contrast that situation to real life. Sitting in your kitchen or dining room / lounge etc. I can guarantee the dog will bark, the long-awaited delivery man will ring the doorbell as you are into the throws of deep discussion, and your local access broadband speed will deteriorate in perfect proportional harmony with your children’s rise in needy volume as they find they can’t access the online game they wanted to play. All of which will occur immediately before or during the need to speak to the highest echelon in your contact base. Every time without fail. It just happens – real life is like that. It’s at that time the Cub Scouts motto comes to mind “be prepared”. Happened to me just as I was due to talk to a very senior representative of a government department. Plan B had to be swiftly enacted.
Many times I have witnessed the event of new employees joining a business or the business refresh process of simply presenting the employee with a pc , phone and cloud based corporate applications with the IT department saying “here you go it’s all set up for you , usual username and password and there are some corporate HR videos on there that you need to view and here is our CRM and some new toys to play with”.
It will not work. Well it might – eventually after a world of pain talking to desktop support services globally located to reduce cost….but not very efficiently as people find work arounds to suit their needs that often create a significant cost of delay or in some situations involve non authorised external applications or services.
To solve complex problems and create positive outcomes and excellent experiences for the user and for your customers I’d like you to consider four simple principles of Future Ways of Working.
People, Process, Environment and Technology.
Future ways of working considers the needs of the individual with the aspirations of the enterprise to achieve successful solutions. Every business or employer is different. Every business or department has a vast range of people with different personas, skills and capabilities. Some employees are introvert, some extrovert or ambivert yet employers feast a standard set of tools upon them that for many are not aligned or irrelevant to their persona, environment or requirements.
Let us also consider how users use the tools provided? Take video as an example.
I believe that users should be trained & educated on how to host (or attend) video meetings – you are after all presenting or performing or attending on behalf of your business, department, or enterprise.
Be professional – Hybrid recorded and live content, lighting, camera position, microphone, real time feedback, scripting and packaging should be considered. You have probably seen the Covid – 19 Downing Street updates. Our esteemed national press in their full glory – back lit so you can’t see their face, nose cam central for that extra special nasal hair view and who are those people wandering around in the background? Earphones in one ear, talking whilst on mute and not listening to the previous dozen questions and answers and sometimes so unfamiliar with the tools and the environment such that you can play a superb game of conference call bingo. For those who have not tried it – please see an example.
Everyone one of these “mistakes “could be avoided with just a little care, attention and education.
Future Ways of Working aligned to the new social aspects of work to solve these challenges.
- Understand the demographics and needs of your workforce
- Understand where and how people of all types work productively
- Create an environment to optimise their potential
- Offer tools applications, devices, and services with training to ensure that they can be used efficiently
If employees are working from home for extended period, why not consider installing separate broadband into the user’s home specifically for work purposes – separate wifi which is then air walled from domestic use. Training and familiarisation to make sure that users create the right local environment and a backdrop that reflects the nature and professionalism of your business.
You can save money – increase revenues, improve the work life balance and substantially increase employee retention. Employees do not need to cover the time and expense of physically travelling to work which in some areas is more than a significant pay rise. That is certainly something to think about that when the next pay review comes around and the annual investment in separate broadband and training is miniscule by comparison.
Is there a silver lining? I think so…
A people, process, environment & technology focus means agile users, an agile business,
improvements in work life balance, improved employee retention, better customer satisfaction, and new channels for sales & marketing.
At times of crisis good leaders emerge and during those times opportunities will arise to advance your business, are you ready to seize those opportunities?
Find out more at http://www.videocentric.co.uk/thesolution/video-conferencing-consultancy-services/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org