Blogs: Remote Work: Key Considerations

Remote Work: Key Considerations

When people or companies are faced with “flicking-the-working-remotely-switch” for the first time, it often turns out that it is not always as easy as expected. There are obvious enablers to working remotely, but there are also other factors that also need to be considered.

The obvious physical enablers will include finding a space to work, that is comfortable and can accommodate everything needed to be productive. To mention a few things: a desk and chair, sufficient light, good ventilation and a good cup of coffee! Although working remotely may be done alone, it is not possible to work alone. Being able to communicate with customers and colleagues is essential. So having a telephone or mobile phone, a decent internet connection and possibly a scanner are necessary.

Often change to working remotely is not quick because some work is required before hitting the switch. Company’s processes need to incorporate any steps specifically related to working remotely, for example how to use and process electronic documents. These electronic documents should be made available to employees on an online platform and the employees should be trained on how to complete and process the forms digitally.

Work is also required before the remote working switch can be flicked on the systems used. The cloud or online platforms themselves must be acquired, configured and supported before the remote work switch can be flicked on. Also, every remote worker must have a user account on the required platforms, with the correctly configured access permissions.

Lastly, consider the company culture and the employees’ personality types when going remote. Companies where there is a hierarchical and autocratic culture, with a high degree of management control, will have more difficulty in moving to working remotely than a company with a culture of trust, collaboration and empowerment. Any predominant personality traits in the workforce will also influence the success of remote work. Introverts usually tend to adopt working alone more easily than extroverts, especially for longer periods of time. Gregarious natured employees will require more opportunities to use online meetings and telephone calls.

Much of what has been mentioned can be addressed quite easily if working remotely has to be implemented quickly. However the difficulties, and even possibly the success of working remotely, is dependent on how it is implemented and if there is enough in place when flicking the switch.

Blogs: Clarity Enables Success

Clarity Enables Success

There is a business cliché that says “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. This statement has been around for some time and the concept of managing by measuring is widely accepted. The principle behind the statement is that success is possible if there is clarity to start with.

Performance management is typically associated with the statement “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. An entire business, a business process or function, or individual staff members can be more effectively managed if key performance indicators are tracked and compared to a performance target.

A slight variation of the statement talks to continuous improvement, “If you don’t measure it, you won’t know if it improves”. All too often businesses embark on improvement initiatives without measuring the performance before the change is implemented. If we don’t know what was happening before the change, how will we know if there was improvement after the change? It is also important that not only the outcome is measured, but also that the inputs (or levers, i.e. those things that will be changed) are identified and measured. Without knowing which change and how much of it affected the outcome, how do we know if there was real, controllable and repeatable improvement?

The principle can also be applied in staff training and development by stating “If you can’t explain it, you can’t teach it”. The induction of new staff is often done by existing staff that often have limited experience, understanding or ability themselves. This means the new staff can only have the same (or lower) ability as the existing staff. It is better for new staff to be inducted by using procedures which document best practices and clearly defined job descriptions.

Being intentional and by putting in some effort at the start of any endeavour will bring the necessary clarity. Getting clarity up-front certainly does not guarantee success. However without it, the chances of success are greatly reduced. So, unlock the door to success with the key of clarity.

Blogs: Making Better Choices

Making Better Choices

Making Better ChoicesEveryday choices have to be made. They may be simply choices like which coffee blend you’ll start your day with to bigger choices like which property to purchase or which new product to roll out to market. There will probably be several alternatives available to choose from when making the decision. Most often the alternatives will be compared and a choice will be made. Is this a best approach to selecting the best alternative? Not really. Why?

The list of alternatives is usually based on what existing suppliers can offer or sell, which are the cheapest alternatives and which alternatives the few people who are involved in the choice have used before. Choosing an alternative this way is simply picking the ‘best of the bunch’ rather than picking the best for what’s required.

Making choices like this often means that the final choice is less than optimal with inadequate features or characteristics to meet the need and is poor value-for-money since it often includes unnecessary/unused features or characteristics in the purchase cost.

To avoid this problem it is essential that the list of required features or characteristics must be known BEFORE any alternatives are considered. That way the selection of alternatives is more focused, the alternatives can be compared to ‘the standard of what is needed’ rather than whatever is on the table, and lastly it is more likely the final choice will best satisfy the needs or requirements.