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Do you have processes in place to support remote working?

Where do we work?

The only question is whether we will meet as much as we did in the office before the pandemic. We have had six months, since the restrictions were lifted, to get back to “business as usual”. However, it turns out that many continue to work remotely.

Different surveys show slightly different figures, but it seems that a majority (~80%) want to continue working remotely, either fully or partially. There is a difference between what employees want and what employers want.

What emerges from the employees’ side is the desire for freedom to choose when I work at home, or in the office, and to what extent. It is interesting that the pandemic has brought us an opportunity for greater freedom.

Now, of course, this does not apply to all professionals, as many need to be in a particular place. Either it’s equipment that requires you to be at a location or it’s customers at a location that you have to service. It is sometimes forgotten in the discussion.

But regardless, the workplace of the future will change. This is an example of how the world is changing, and we need to keep up with it in our businesses. During the pandemic, we made great strides with technological platforms for remote meetings and online collaboration.

Companies like Zoom and Miro have made huge contributions, while they themselves have faced the same challenge as the rest of us. After all, they have not been able to meet while the demand for their products has grown exponentially. Because they succeeded, the result was that they made great strides in their business development.

Is the business ready?

The question becomes how do your processes and its process management keep up? The challenge is both to have the value-creating workflow so clear that we as employees can see clearly what we are supposed to do and how we are supposed to do it. As well as easily knowing when to do it.

If the processes are not clear enough, they will not support employees. By “clear” I mean that they are detailed enough to provide a high-level understanding of how value creation flows. But also so that it is possible to see more details about the flow and then get help in different activities to be performed.

Leadership is changing

As a manager, it is of course also a challenge. Over the years, many people have gotten used to being able to be there, right next to their colleagues. But it doesn’t work anymore.

Many years ago, it was easier for managers to see what their employees were doing. It was very clear if someone was working and how much they were producing. Then came the computers that the employees sat and worked with. Many managers lost a bit of control. Because how do you know what’s going on there on your employees’ screens. Is it the newspaper they read or is it on social media they post?

Some organisations have even banned or completely blocked certain websites from being accessed.

Now comes the next step, when the managers don’t even see the employees, because they are sitting at home. Do they work at all, or are they out walking the dog or washing clothes?

Trust and clarity

You may recall that in other articles I have talked about the difference between manager and leader. To take the leap as a person and become a leader, you need confidence. Trust between all parties involved in a business. We must be able to trust that we are doing what we are supposed to do.

For that to work, we also need to be able to see what we are doing. Unfortunately, too much is missing here. Surveys show that “production” is very low in many places. This in turn means that we are unfortunately wasting our resources, as we are not getting what we want out of our activities. Or rather – customers, whatever you call them, are not getting the value they expect.

Increased requirements

In order to be as clear in our operations as we want to be, our processes need to be very clear.

Again, we need to be able to clearly see what we are going to do and how we are going to do it. As well as easily knowing when to do it.

We need to do this when we are in the same physical place and we need it even more when we are dispersed in time and space.

I advocate that as a process leader you have regular process meetings, where the whole process group goes through the WHAT, HOW and WHEN, as well as WHO has what tasks.

This may be once a week for one business, while for another it may be every morning. These planning and reconciliation meetings have now become even more important. We now need to have these meetings online as well. For example, we have maybe 15 minutes of planning and reconciliation every morning at 8:15.

However, this puts even more demands on being structured during these meetings to make them work well. Otherwise, these 15 minutes go by very quickly and it hasn’t given anyone anything, but is more of an annoyance.

However, that is a topic for another weekly letter, so I’ll stop there and say that:

  1. It is even more important now to have your processes clearly described as we want to work.
  2. And then to make sure that we have digital support to be able to work in that way and to make sure that this is done.
  3. In addition, the process group has regular reconciliation meetings. Even online.

Take the chance to learn more

To learn more about how to succeed in your improvement work, which is needed to go to above clarity, I recommend the training:

How to succeed in your improvement work – 5 steps to make your job easier, more fun and more effective.

Here we go through what is possible to achieve as a result of good improvement work. You will learn some important basic skills to succeed, but you will also learn about what it looks like in other organisations, both in Sweden and abroad.

We will go through a variety of good examples. In addition, we will also look at what leadership is needed and what digitalisation can do to help us succeed.

Click here to sign up for the entry list. Of course, it is completely unconditional and you have not committed yourself to anything, but only said that you want more information.

Let’s enjoy the month of August and we’ll talk to you next week.