COVID-19, pandemic, crisis management, digitalization, process management, performance measurement, B2NN, home office
In our next two posts, we will look at the main areas and groups of questions that are unavoidable so that we can meet this proactivity expectation on an ongoing and long-term basis.
In this article, we are writing on the development of decision-making and the organization of business processes, and we are also discussing the rapid expansion of home office work.
1. Speed up and adapt the decision-making and risk management processes to the current situation
- A team (to ensure business continuity) has been set up, operates and decides on a regular basis according to the needs of the current situation.
- The decision-making process is supported by working groups per functional area that perform analysis and make preparations for the decision-making.
- Management shall use expert support in all areas where it is essential for the provision of quality and secure services, such as IT operation, data and information security, and communication.
- We provide regular, central, and unified communication for all employees in our business.
2. Digitalizing business (front office) processes
Best practices in this area depend on the specific characteristics of the industry that the given firm belongs to.
In the case of an accounting service provider, as shown in the example of PS, the following aspects are the most important for the success reached by the effective adaptation:
- Digitalizing the entire accounting and payroll workflow.
- Full system availability through protected channels also from external locations (home office, client, service partner), securely, by using data and information security solutions.
- Electronic receipt of input information from clients and other partners and return of results in this way (which, of course, requires equally advanced systems and solutions on the opposite side).
- Ensure the digitalization of client, supplier and other third party data and information that can be accepted on paper only, with appropriate protection of course and dedicated transmission to the work teams competent for further processing.
3. Adaptation of work and process management, planning and management tasks
Extended home office capabilities require solutions that enable employees to work in an equivalent and efficient way, regardless of where they are performing the work.
We are not going to go into the details here and now, as this is a huge area in itself, with thousands of options, or because many aspects are raised in the other areas discussed in this post.
4. The “home office” as an employment solution and the relevant questions
This area deserves particular attention and is worth examining from several aspects, as the COVID crisis has brought the greatest breakthrough for home office (HO) as a “work organization or job-delivery solution.”
Although many companies have started testing HO in recent years, only a few of them have used it in a significant proportion. Albeit the management of several companies were wary of its use earlier, many companies had no alternative to this at the time of introduction of the COVID quarantine measures. Though the management of a number of companies was forced to introduce it quickly and widely, the surprise came quickly:in most cases, despite the many preliminary concerns, the HO has proven to be working!
Months have, however, elapsed since then, and a significant proportion of workers in the relevant industries are still working at home in many countries, the legislators have not yet clarified the legal framework for HO in many places, even though setting up the regulatory framework has already been started. Although it was proposed in Germany that the law should provide 24 days per year HO possibility to all workers who, by virtue of their position, can provide their work from home, the proposal has finally been withdrawn because the coalition did not want to make the crisis-hit labour market more uncertain with this new rule.
By its very nature, home office work is the area that needs the most consultation, since significant labour, management or psychological issues emerge for and against. Only a few of these aspects are highlighted here and now: .
- There are employees who have a burden of isolation at home, which could lead to mental and loyalty problems without proper treatment. If there is such an effect, the direct leader has a great responsibility to notice it in time and to deal with the situation as far as possible. Obviously, this is not a small challenge for those leaders whose companies have used HO first in times of the crisis, as it raises also managerial development issues in order to compensate for the lack of experience.
- For other employees, it is even a blessing that HO exists because, for many reasons, they are better able to organize their lives, so that a win-win situation is created between the employer and the employee, as the latter can perceive the possibility as a valuable benefit.
- A sensitive issue can be performance measurement, how time is accounted for, or how to manage availability requirements, and ensuring the human and technological conditions of availability. This is the point where experienced leaders and modern IT solutions can play a huge role.
- The re-interpretation of the concept and responsibilities of an occupational accident also requires serious legislation in the case of work at home.
- As part of remuneration, the way in which work equipment is provided and the way in which the costs of services (such as internet access) are shared also require a statutory arrangement.
We launched our COVID-19 blog series to share our experience gained so far during the COVID crisis and our views on business changes in the world.
We are confident that this will help our readers to get beyond the crisis with the least possible loss and to get straight ahead as soon as possible, strengthened.
Previous four “COVID-series” posts: