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Conclusion: Despite decades of investment in new technologies and the promise of 'digital transformation', workforce productivity has languished. The problem is that technological change does not equate to process nor practice change. Put simply, doing the same things with new tools will not deliver new outcomes.
The mass move to working from home has forced a wave of change to practices: people are finally shifting from a sequential approach to work to a genuinely collaborative approach. And this work approach will remain even as staff return to the office.
The emerging wave through 2020 and beyond is process change: continual and iterative digitisation of process. Practice and process changes will be two positive legacies of the pandemic.
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Conclusion: Since the rise of personal computing in the 1970s, organisations have focused on acquiring digital tools and, since the late 1990s, on promoting digital skills. While we are now in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, where digital skills are essential, the so-called soft skills of employees also need to be constantly updated and upgraded.
Conclusion: Creating an environment in which IT and business professionals can adapt to a new and remote (also known as alternate work) environment will test the ingenuity of many senior managers.
To meet the challenge, managers must help their staff avoid being anxious and isolated and enable them to easily access their peers for advice and guidance. Failure to keep contact could lead to a decline in productivity and staff not feeling part of the team. Alternately, not having to travel to work sites and work prescribed hours can be a blessing for others.
Conclusion: Organisations should tap into their management team (department heads, managers and team leaders) to keep their working-from-home employees committed to the organisation. These organisational leaders have the most direct relationships and therefore are the most qualified to invite engagement from employees and other stakeholders. However, new models for engaging and measuring employees are needed that reflect the shift to virtual teams and virtual management: there is a shift from managing by activity to managing by trust.
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