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10 things to help your business run smoothly during COVID-19

10 things to help your business run smoothly during COVID-19

Following on from our recent post, in relation to trying to stay operational during these extreme circumstances.  A number of people have direct messaged us looking for support in relation to new ways of working amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

So, to answer some of your concerns we have shared some of the ideas that we are suggesting and implementing with our clients. Please take a look, tell us what you think and let us know how your organisation is staying operational.  These are not a definitive ‘must do’ set of recommendations, just suggestions of where this approach may help.

Here are 10 things you may want to consider:

  1. Nobody knows how long this will be for, so get comfortable

Organisations are treating this situation with a business continuity focussed response, which is still correct, but we are suggesting that if you take a programme management approach to this it creates more structure to manage this. Treat this difficult situation as a programme that is transforming your organisation (albeit on a day by day basis). Many organisations are now discovering whether they can be an agile remote working organisation and are finding out whether they can adopt this new way of working as the new business as usual.

2. Appoint a programme manager

With key decisions to be made, it is vital that you have an appointed programme manager and dedicated work-streams to suit your business, driving actions and managing progress. This will free up your heads of services to manage the service itself. Put an exec team/senior management team in place who performs command and control functions to agree decisions.

3. Appoint somebody to look at the bigger picture

Daily life is regularly changing and it is important to have dedicated personnel to take external input from what is happening in the outside world. This ensures that the programme is being informed on a daily basis as things change regionally and locally as well as keeping up to date with any government guidance.

4. Keep a simple management structure

Put in place a very simple management structure with status on a page and report only by exception. Ensure that your organisation has a structured day of short sharp focussed meetings throughout the day, every day on a repeat cycle. All decisions and findings should be issued in a clear message to all staff and customers on an appropriate timescale. We suggest communicating when needed to avoid any communication overload.

5. Create a meeting structure

Have a meeting structure with project management office (PMO) that supports creating (at a very fast rate) all documentation and reporting. Keep a decision log that you can reflect on as well as a risk and issue log, create very simple templates, reuse what you have if you can or adapt it. Evolve this reporting into dashboards from trusted sources of data using tools like Power BI.

6. Remember what is important

If you are providing customer-facing services decide what are critical services and understand all the IT components and applications that are needed to deliver the service. If you have staff who are providing these critical services, arrange them into Red, Blue and Yellow sub teams where they work as a unit to avoid any cross infection. This also ensures that you have a replacement team that you can use to bring in to swap out a team if they are required to isolate. NEVER let the red group meet the blue group etc. Perform team isolation and only let the same team see the same end customers for customer facing services.

7. What are your service’s MUST DOs?

Use a Must Should Could Wont (MoSCoW) model to agree what are the must do’s / must keep running services. Suggest stopping services that you don’t need and redeploy staff to provided additional resources in the services that you have determined as critical. As this progresses document what the new service looks like as your new service definition evolves in the new business as usual.

8. It’s not any easy time for anyone

Remember your staff will likely be uneasy about full remote working and set up a helpline/dedicated number to support any of your staff’s concerns. Create a staff questionnaire focusing on the softer side of things (how people are feeling) and as well as the harder things such as whether the technology is working. It is vital that your staff are comfortable in their changing work environment, to ensure a positive morale during these difficult times. Don’t just ask them once and have mechanisms to allow the ‘kitchen’ and coffee chat taking place virtually using the technology.

9. Keep on top of any issues

Review your service desk incidents and the feedback from surveys that you may have run, use  the survey to perform incident analysis to see if you have major problems. This way you can perform root cause analysis on any issues to quickly iron out any potential problems. Create FAQ’s to solve any repeat calls that are happening and take the strain off your service/help desk. Apply fast tracked continuous service improvement and improve the customer experience in a rapid and agile way focussing on removing what was face to face and paper based.

10. Forecast how your services will look

Decide what good looks like and write down what your service will look like and how it will operate in a week’s time, two weeks time etc. Document what you think the new business as usual (BAU) will look like. This new BAU may be your operating environment for many weeks to come, so manage it and look to make it as efficient as possible.

At CoStratify we are here to help now, or in the future to form strong evidence for change. Please do get in touch if you would like to get advice from our experts.

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