September 10, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic turmoil is changing the way we live and work. Business continuity is being threatened at unprecedented levels. Combined with the current complexities organizations are now facing, maintaining business continuity requires a new approach to common challenges.
Our current blog series is reviewing crisis recovery and business continuity in the professional services industry. Last week we discussed the need to build digital agility. In part three this week, we look at the importance of empowering a remote workforce and address this question:
Are you creating a better remote workforce strategy to tackle modern challenges?
Empower remote workers
The entire workforce was suddenly working remotely requiring new considerations to fulfill responsibilities and engagement. Organizations immediately started pondering how best to empower a disrupted and remote workforce, the new issues they would face, and continuity of business based on workforce contributions.
While the notion of flexible work arrangements has been gaining momentum for years, the pandemic accelerated the need to embrace novel strategies to preserve productivity while preparing for worst-case scenarios—even within the professional services industry.
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The problem is that most organizations do not possess a well-established, thoughtfully developed remote workforce strategy. They maintain antiquated organizational structures and closed-minded perspectives that prevent them from embracing what may be the largest workplace shift since the start of the Information Age.
Yet, the need for a sophisticated remote workforce strategy has never been greater as over 50% of organizations in the industry struggle with their pandemic-induced workforce response while there is also some discussion around establishing the right to work from home as a potential legal worker right.
Develop a stronger strategy
Leaders in the professional services industry must recognize that while it is common to quickly look to technology for answers to modern challenges, it is important to first evaluate existing cultural norms and organizational policies and practices that may obstruct open-mindedness and creative problem-solving—and adaptability. The sequencing of steps can be crucial—hence the need to recognize the appropriate order of activity to create a sustainable remote workforce strategy.
Consider the culture—The traditional beliefs and behaviors that support organizations today simply may not work in the next normal of tomorrow. Leaders need must recognize the cultural nuances of their organization and how they should be shaped to survive and thrive in a dynamic or chaotic environment.
Identify realistic roles—Frequently, there are a few elements of a role that would be difficult to perform remotely, but if they were stripped out or moved to a different role, the feasibility increases. In other cases, it may be the business model that should be evaluated.
Select the right people—Certain people are well-suited for alternative work arrangements, while others will struggle if forced to work remotely. When evaluating skilled talent in the next normal, organizations should consider behavioral and organizational alignment of candidates.
Tap new technology—Once the first three steps are taken, it is important to evaluate new technologies to help enable, empower, and engage the remote workforce in a sustainable manner.
Next week, we’ll look at how organizations are shifting to align with new, critical client needs and preferences.
If you would like to discover more about recovery and continuity in professional services, we invite you to download a best practice guide:
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