The COVID-19 situation has completely altered work patterns. Regardless of how accustomed we were to a way of operating, the pandemic has forced us to change how we work. This period is a time to make sure everything we have built in our companies is carefully maintained and updated. A company is a living organism that needs to keep active. Very easily, we could regress and lose precious ground, but instead, we can maintain our company infrastructure and even improve it as we go.
A company’s organizational structure is the skeleton over which its operations are built. The configuration should be good fit between your company’s capabilities and its external environment. This structure evolves with the company, so what might have worked at one point may no longer be relevant.
I have seen the most significant places for improvement in our own company’s configuration. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, some problems can fade to the background, or the cause of those problems might be confusing. When everything else becomes quiet, it is easier to see what has not been flowing correctly. As a rule, whenever I see a persistent problem in a workflow, I first think about our organizational structure, as in the past, that is where I have found the most problems.
At the beginning of our confinement period, I noticed issues in how work was flowing from one department to the next. I did not take immediate action, but I simply observed it. Then I started experimenting to see what changes might work. COVID-19 and its period of distancing provided a ready-made laboratory to test new ideas. So I kept listening, and I spoke with my partner about different plans for the changes we might want to make. We are already experimenting with new ways of working to change our workflow going forward.
The period of confinement has also made clear what parts of the organizational structure are working, which, luckily, is the vast majority. I am working to strengthen the workflows in those areas and encouraging more teamwork.
Processes and Information Systems
Information systems support your company’s business processes, which is how the work in a company operates. These also need to be reassessed in the light of this period.
We can no longer do many of the physical processes we performed. Some may need to wait, but others can be moved into digital realms. Our planning meetings, for instance, are all being held via Zoom. We are following the same plan for our processes: changing and improving the ones we can and maintaining what is working.
One of the places that we are paying attention to is the sales process through which we sell and lease real estate. We have started thinking about how to migrate it into the digital realm. We already have a website and a social media presence, but we are looking for ways to move more of the process online via videos and virtual tours. We tried this in the past, but it did not work, because our customers wanted an in-person experience.
We believe, however, that consumers are being forced to change their patterns. People who never touched an app before are buying their groceries through home delivery services. When the change comes, we want to be ready with products and selling processes that we have adapted to our customers’ expectations.
We have some processes in our company that we are not executing at the moment. Because we think they will be useful in the future, we are carefully maintaining them so that they do not fall behind or into disuse. We could very easily lose everything we have implemented so far.
For your own company, any investment you may have made in cloud information systems is most likely paying off. You may also be noticing other processes that are not working in our current climate. Can your information systems be improved to handle the present reality better? If something in your information system is falling behind, now might be a good time to look for new options to support your company workflows better.
Training and Communication
With a vastly changed landscape, we must adapt how we communicate. Communication is what I spend most of my time pondering. After two months of remote work, I am starting to feel the strain of distance. If we do not make a strong enough effort, the bonds we have developed might regress. Instead, we can use this time to create new linkages and closer working relationships.
We are experimenting with company-wide forums, a company-wide chat, and virtual training sessions that will help bring us all together. One of the significant advantages of this time is that we can integrate digital resources into our companies to train our teams.
You can also take advantage of practically any digital course in the world. I had been dying to take a leadership course that was only offered physically, and with my hectic schedule, it was highly unlikely I was going to get a chance to attend. Recently, they took that course and started offering it online for a reduced price, so I signed up immediately.
Even with this changing landscape, there is no reason we should fall behind on our training or lose the vital relationships we have developed. Instead, we can find creative ways of bringing everybody together and take this as a time to boost our knowledge and our growth.
I view this time as critical. Use it to maintain what you have built and develop new capabilities that will only strengthen your company.