What are your customers’ needs post C19, and how do you interact with them? Do they need on person sales calls, on-site technical support, or are their other reasons for your team to be on-site with your customer or vice versa?   

You should limit this as much as possible, where it is unavoidable to use it as an opportunity to engage the customer and fully understand their needs to get the full value of your visit and to demonstrate how you are prioritizing their needs.

This can and should be reflected in your brand.  Link it to your CSR offering, PPE, scheduling, chain of custody controls, etc.  See where your core business can reflect and implement these principles to your customers. 

As part of your brand also consider:

There is also the opportunity to use the changing environment as a chance to not only engage with all your customers but seek out those you haven’t had as much engagement within recent times. 

Talk to your customer and find out how COVID had affected them and changed their needs.  Understand the problems that have and be part of their solutions

Further to this, ask open questions and allow the customer to tell you the other areas where they have problems or are making changes. 

Are these issues short term, or are they a new normal as your customer change supply lines, reduces travel, embrace digital technologies.  Be careful that as your customers adapt to the new environments that your brand is perceived as a concrete vat to facilitate these changes. Follow the example of Lexus; “Service is Not Just a Department

Productivity

A recent Polycom Inc study showed that remoting working is increasing productivity and AT&T ongoing telework program, which has helped the company slash its annual real estate costs by $30 million and rake in $150 million in extra hours of productive work.

These programs also encourage better employee retention with better communication, improved work-life balance, and more flexibility with childcare. 

The Polycom study showed new technological tools that enable communication and collaboration are actually motivating workers to pick up the phone, seek face time, and create lasting bonds. The accepted wisdom of shared work environments, and in particular hot-desking, are associated with increases in distraction, negative relationships, uncooperative behavior’s and distrust,”

Employees in a flexible workplace are more engaged and have less intention to leave employers.   The flexibility and empowerment this affords the employee also dilutes salary as being a singular discussion point in contact discussions.

Keep a few things in mind as you start the process.  Not all workers can be remote, some will have costs associated with remote working, and some will deliver a saving.  Understand these metrics within your organization before proceeding. 

Once you have identified the remote working opportunities, make sure all parties understand the work to be done, the level of detail expected about how long it will take, and make sure it gets done in or around the required time.

This should all be captured in the budget so you can measure the saving and verify the plan is working.  Use one of the many APS available such as Slack, Asana, and Trello, to tracking your team’s achievements and publish progress on a shared platform. 

 Celebrate your team achievements and use these opportunities to reinforce your brand, mission, and the employee’s contribution to meeting these goals.

Schedule a weekly or bi-weekly call with your team to catch up on projects, deadlines, and tasks. Use a little time to have a casual conversation to maintain team bonding and trust.

Establish a clear work routine and create a structure. Plan your work before the start of the day to make sure you complete the task list and hit deadlines.

Tips for Working from Home

Get the basics right to being with.  A lot of companies end up with employees switching between personal and company devices.  Ensure your team has the necessary tools; devices such as phones and laptops, networks like a VPN, and relevant applications the needed.

Security should always be the first principle so having the right devices and a secure server is an essential Use a VPN as this also helps avoid mixing personal and professional information and reduces the risk of sharing sensate data, particularly in relation to GDPR

Make sure all parties understand the work to be done, the level of detail expected about how long it will take. Follow up and make sure it gets done in the required time.  All work should be clearly aligned with and communicated as part of your core mission and brand.

Have a clearly defined start time and morning routine where your colleagues know when they are available.  As a manager, however, you must not limit the teams’ access to you.

Encourage team calls that are brief and specific to 3 items or less.   It’s better to have multiple briefs, productive calls than one long rambling one.

Use one of the many Apps available such as Slack, Asana, and Trello to tracking your team’s achievements and publish progress on a shared platform.   Encourage and deliver success stories to promote values, culture, brand.  This also helps build a positive working environment. 

Ensure any criticism is positive.  Written negative criticism will be continuously returned to, mulled over, picked apart, and will build resentment.

As the Manger, as well as all the other tools available, pick up the phone and call your team individually.  Listening to them offline shows that you always have their time, attention, and trust.

If you need the office

Have a strict no work if sick policy.  You don’t want one employee to close your office for two weeks.  Follow the hygiene advice of your local health authority, but Do conduct an internal risk analysis and plan your office space accordingly. 

Your employee’s safety is your responsibility but simply empowering your Health and Safety team to do their jobs well will ensure you are complying with your legislative obligations

Ensure there is no crowding of office space and that only 25 to 50% of the workspace is actually occupied.

Introduce a series of checkpoints testing to minimize risks. Create a holding/containment area for colleagues to ensure that a red flag can be raised if someone is not feeling well.

If you need help with business management and strategy consultation, please get in touch for a free consultation.