I’ve been working with all sorts of companies for the past decade, gathering data, dissecting processes, and unlocking opportunities they would never have imagined. The one pattern I discovered is not even how unprepared companies are in general, but how many of them lack a proper long-term vision and purpose. The first step to becoming resilient is your purpose as an individual and your vision as an organization.
In an unprecedented situation in modern history, businesses all around the world are forced to rethink their way of working because of tiny, microscopic life form -a virus- called Covid-19. There will be a before and an after Coronavirus. This Kafkaesque episode will teach us a few things, as individuals and companies, such as becoming more resilient and agile. It might also very much shape or accelerate the future of work.
How can a company ensure business continuity without having to change all of its current processes? What kind of tool does human resources, operations, or office management need to enable a seamless digital and physical workplace experience? What solution should a company use to develop its vision and become super resilient?
1. Ensuring Transmission
Companies see higher turnover than ever before: employees stay shorter amounts of time in one company, so how do you ensure transmission of information, processes and culture? What would you do if one or several key people in your organization decide to leave at once? Can you run the business without them for several months? Finding new talent for key hires is no easy task. It requires time and energy, and above all a tremendous amount of peace of mind. Digitizing your operations can bring you some of this peace of mind. Technology can help you record every interaction and get access to the full history of your workplace’s operations, so anyone else in the company can take over for the interim.
2. Making a Contingency Plan
Natural disaster, political unrest, health hazard… Whatever the reason, your office can become unavailable at any time. If your organization is big enough, and is present in different locations, it produces redundancies and can help fill the gaps. In the case of a single office, like the majority of us, running your operations online is a good first step, but you need to think of a contingency plan. Think of the immediate steps you can take: what is the closest coworking space in your area? Do you keep all of your teams and assets on the cloud or just some of it? If you have inventory, how can you limit the damage and quickly reorganize?
3. Embracing Flexible Work Schedules
The future of work is becoming more and more versatile. Employees’ hours and work conditions are more flexible. Remote work is a growing trend and you need to put processes in place to allow for a seamless workday and continuous operations. Allowing your team to work remotely on a regular basis is one of the best ways to prepare and avoid downtime in the case of an unpredictable event.
4. Testing, Testing, Testing
Test different scenarios with your team. Ask the office manager or human resources to work remotely for an entire week. Bring them back, then ask the C-level positions to do the same. Then, ask the entire office to work remotely for an entire week. You will learn more about your team and company in those few weeks than in several years of operations.
5. Creating Redundancies
A key factor for business continuity is redundancy. We usually think of redundancy in terms of servers, software, hardware, etc. But you can and should enable redundancy within people. Don’t get me wrong: you are not going to hire 2 or 3 times the amount of employees you need. Instead, create some overlap amongst different key roles. A Chief Operations Officer should be able to take over the office management and vice-versa. A Chief Technology Officer should be able to jump into any of the engineers stack and vice-versa. A Marketing Manager should be able to help coordinate the Sales department if needed. You get the idea.
6. Using Technology
You should use a system that empowers employees and staff, and includes both operations and communications in one single interface. A system that is flexible and customizable enough to allow for employee engagement via both SMS and Web, in case some network crashes. A system that allows for remote operations management and notifications, so all of the operations, human resources and office staff are always on the same page, including in time of an emergency. A system that does not impede regular operations, but contributes to your company culture and vision on a day-to-day basis.
Resilience in business is less about productivity than continuity. Any challenge such as the one we are currently living on a global scale is a way to test how strong our vision is and how motivated our teams are. If you are currently confused, don’t really know how to become agile, or simply realized how unprepared you were, hit me up. I can help.