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The new-age Human Remote

Sunday, 04 April 2021 | Ankur Dhingra

Augment your workforce with digital technologies to unlock the value of human capital, writes Ankur Dhingra, as he shares tips to successfully manage remote employees

With the current COVID-19 protocols in place worldwide and most organisations opting for the work-from-home or ‘remote’ office set-ups — the workplace dynamics have changed. From being 100% in the office to 100% remote and every possible combination within; organisations across verticals are looking for ways to not only stay productive but also to unlock the value of human capital in the current permutation or combination that the organisation has outlined for its workforce.

Bound by ‘social distancing’ and ‘government mandated lockdowns’, it has become imperative for companies to recognise relevant trends early to be able to effectively manage employees remotely and incorporate them in the right manner into business operations.

While monitoring and evaluation tools focus mainly on activity tracking and outcome harvesting, an effective enterprise operations management platform can help organisations unlock the true value of human capital. Organisations use different tools for everything from online and offline data collection, aggregation and analysis to reporting. While this method works and is effective in smaller organisations, however, it can get cumbersome when running multiple projects across different locations. Here’s a quick checklist of the must-have features when choosing a platform to manage a newly remote workforce:

Work Time

With the employees working remotely, managing a distributed workforce has caught many organisations unaware. Employees are also struggling to live up to the expectations, improve or manage productivity levels while ensuring time efficiency and maintaining work-life balance.

  • The tool that a company uses must provide complete work pattern analysis across teams, processes and locations. It will not only bring transparency into operations but, help business owners identify and bridge the gaps.
  • Give insight into activities on and away from the system. It will not only help you isolate time leakages and gaps but will also give you an opportunity to groom your employees by providing them with the best training, and the ability to counsel them if they are facing any challenges or issues.
  • Don’t know who’s working on which project? Optimum resources utilisation is important to maintain the projects in top shape and cash bells ringing. Effective Operations management tools are useful in digging deeper into resource utilization trends to ensure better resource leveling and planning.
  • Similarly, look for features and functionality to take sneak-peek into employee productivity, schedule compliance, break schedule, etc.

Work Output

Being online 24×7 does not guarantee productivity. You need to have a mechanism in place to drive productivity outcomes.

  • Ask for a comprehensive analysis of employee effort vs. outcome.
  • Intuitive dashboards are a great way to identify, understand and resolve process and performance gaps.
  • Time and motion studies powered-by comprehensive analysis on employee effort.
  • A module that can easily categorise and segment staff across different teams and multiple locations according to the requirements.
  • Ease of integration with any other third-party workflow management software/Service desk/help desk/CRM or any such kind of tool that has a transaction repository.

Workflow Management

When teams are working remotely, it becomes important than ever to channelise the work-flow of a project while directing the course from A to Z. A robust workflow management tool can help guide the flood of different project tasks with different deadlines and requirements while improving throughput and AHT or average handling time.

  • Establishing workflow taking up too much of your time? Bringing in an operations management tool should have the essential capabilities to set up workflows according to the project requirements and allocate tasks by utilising inbuilt adaptors.
  • Managing the work effectively is yet another challenge of remote working. Thus it is important to enable managers to capture real-time activity being carried out on each task, thus helping to remove any bottlenecks.
  • Check out if the tool can record transactions based on predefined rules while identifying hidden opportunities for desktop automation and process improvement.
  • Ask for a management tool that empowers you through better planning and forecasting the workload.

Advanced Analytics

For any organisation, analytics is a vital part of managing workforce productivity while driving business performance. With insights derived from data analytics, important relationships and patterns can be established to plug in leakages due to low employee productivity, higher overhead costs, and poor customer service.

  • The tool should be able to provide real-time performance data to establish realistic and effective organisational benchmarks and targets.
  • Classification of incidental, value adding, and non-value adding activities within the organization is another task that enterprise operation management software should be able to do.
  • Look out for features that help in keeping a track of utilisation of resources, operating systems, and infrastructure available in order to streamline operations.

These are the times calling for tapping the true potential of human capital and digital investments

While it gets hard to understand employee behavior when they work remotely, investing them in the right way, and right direction can help steer clear the challenges. Some points that should be kept in mind are: 

  • Promote self-improvement: Personal growth of the employees accelerates organisational growth. Providing employees with self-improvement dashboards can be a great way for overall growth. When the employees self-analyse their weaknesses and strengths, work gaps get easier to fill. The employees get a better and deep understanding of where they lack. Self- analyzing is the key to self-growth.
  • Focusing on work-time: Analysing work gaps, productivity levels and setting utilisation benchmarks drives employee potential in the right direction. To increase employee productivity, the organisations can measure schedule compliance, identify work gaps and time leakages. Deploying an enterprise grade operations management tool that optimise overtime of the employees brings transparency.
  • Center work-output: Establishing an effective mechanism in place to evaluate the work outputs help maintain the balance. A thorough analysis of work input and work output drives productivity betterment. An organisation can improve profitability with accurate analysis of process and performance gaps. Software providing end-to-end analysis of employee productivity levels helps the organisation get an extensive view of their performance. 
  • Real-time visibility: Utilising intuitive tools provide an operational transparency in the organisation that can manage the workflow. Accessing real-time visibility to manage employees’ work performance accelerates their productivity levels. The managers get to align the workforce with the work tasks suiting their capabilities with the help of a efficient software. Real-time visibility enables the managers to foresee the challenges and prepare accordingly.
  • Eliminate the waste tasks: With the advanced analytics, an organisation can work on lean initiatives and asset optimisation. Utilising the software to identify the loopholes in customer service, employee productivity and expected business cost can help review the working process. A regular follow-up of the work-activities is imperative to streamline the resources and eliminate non-incidental activities.
  • Reduce operational cost: Accessing tangible insights on asset optimisation by software help the organisation to reduce capital and operational cost. With an asset optimisation dashboard, the organisation is able to analyse the accurate utilisation of company assets. With an operation management platform in the organisation, pruning of unproductive and extra systems gets easy. This minimises extra operational cost and clears the space for productive applications.
  • Promote extensive reporting: The workforce can filter the information that is provided to the managers. To avoid any work delays or passing incomplete information, the organisation should be actively responsive on employee productivity. Screen recording or screen capturing with the help of software help the managers to get real-time view of what is being done. This ensures transparency in the organisation and lets managers understand employee capabilities first-hand. Getting in-depth analysis of where employee lacks, helps managers alter their training process accordingly.
  • Be attentive towards workload analysis: The managers should understand that overburdening an employee can deteriorate their work performance. With the help of automated software, the manager can get virtual workload distribution analytics. The operation management platform enables the organisation to understand utilisation levels of the employees and delegate the workload accordingly.
  • Classify employee output based on different attributes: The organisation cannot expect the same results from all their employees. With the help of softwares, the organisation need classify employee outputs based on attributes like location, work tenure, position and level of expectations. An employee on the executive level cannot contribute the same as the senior manager. Understanding the same can improve satisfaction level of the managers.
  • Equitable Load balancing: It is important working remotely doesn’t mean that there are pockets of teams that are underutilised and pockets that are over worked. Balancing workload appropriately and ensuring equitable distribution of work with visibility is a key focus area for enterprises as they think about a post COVID-19 operations model.

It is important to have a real time view of how teams are engaged, and to give insights into the workload distribution across different teams. Having a robust measurement platform that provides insights across all levels of the enterprise is critical for future success in a distributed workplace.

The writer is CEO, ProHance photo, an enterprise operations management platform that helps organisations to unlock the value of human capital

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