We thought we'd write about some practical ideas that organisations can take right now to ensure business continuity during these critical and unprecedented times. Many organisations we work with maintain a business continuity and disaster recovery plan and actively monitor risks on the corporate and departmental risk registers. Putting these plans into practice and operationalising the business to embrace new remote ways of working is a whole other thing. No amount of preparedness activity can help to prepare you for the live experiment that is unfolding in real-time.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly and unexpectedly impacted business productivity and of course will have major repercussions in the economies of many countries. It has caused employees to need to remain self-isolated in their homes whilst working remotely.
Let's consider some of the business ideas that you can put in place, or continue to focus on, to ensure your business continuity.
Technology to enable collaboration
Most major organisations will have collaboration tools in place and infrastructure that allows employees to gain access to data and productivity tools. In these cases it may more be a challenge of maintaining this infrastructure securely, for example where many staff are concurrently accessing VPN services at greater numbers than previously provisioned. Encouraging the use of cloud-based technologies or spinning up additional servers for VPN may be needed.
Managing the cultural change
Don't forget the impact that new ways of working and remote working will have on your employees. You have an important role to play in helping your leaders and staff at all levels to understand how the remote working technologies you have put in place work and how to continue to deliver work productively within an inclusive remote work culture.
Remember that it isn't business as usual
It will clearly be impossible at this time to try and support every function that your business would normally carry out. Instead, be sure to prioritise what most needs to be done. Redeploy staff if required to focus on these critical, value-add activities or activities that might generate future revenue for your business.
Prepare for the enduring change
In my view there will be a shift in expectations and attitudes towards working practices as a result of this global pandemic. Work will be less about where you go to do it and more about the work that is done, regardless of the location. This will challenge traditional business models and operating models in the longer term once organisations return to the new normal after the global pandemic has cleared. The scope and scale of this change will need to be understood and anticipated by business leaders.
Focus on wellbeing and employee experience
The wellbeing of your staff is vital right now. Your continuity plans should include consideration for employees who now work remotely and ensure that you are focused on their wellbeing, safety and mental health without compromising on productivity or service delivery. This will present an evolving challenge, particularly where your workforce or their family are personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, or need to take time off work to support others.
Keep reviewing your effectiveness
It's clearly not going to be possible to make too many large changes to your business continuity during this health crisis. But you should still be reflecting on how you are performing and how well your plans are being enacted. You can take stock of your effectiveness and review your KPIs to understand how your employees and customers are responding. Identify areas to improve when more normal business operations are restored and plan for the investment you may need to develop more robust contingency measures and testing in the future.
Keep your customers engaged and updated
It is important to set and manage your customer's expectations during this time. There is clearly a fine balance between giving them too much information, being seen to be jumping on the bandwagon and giving them the information they need to know. When communications are planned sensitively and conducted in a timely and informative manner they help to demonstrate that you care about your customers and value ongoing service delivery during this challenging time.
Keep offering them the service they need
We offer packaged and custom applications that add value to field service operations where it really matters and provide an added edge in providing world-class customer experience. There are a range of products that can help you to deliver continuity in service delivery. Your business may need more effective scheduling of resources at this critical time; you may want to embrace self-service so your customers can make appointments based on your capacity; you may want to give them information on when their field technician will get there; or you may want to service your customer remotely and avoid the truck roll completely. Take a look to find out more information.
Get more information
We'll keep writing blogs on topics that concern field service and operations during this critical time. Leadent Digital loves developing apps that transform customer experience and help you deliver a more frictionless service experience across all of your contact points and channels. Why not get in touch to find out how we can help at this critical time.