How connected are you really?

(written and posted prior to lock-down)

As we enter an unprecedented era of uncertainty about our very being and social freedom (well in the short term anyway), one thing that has come up in the meetings I’ve been to this week (that haven’t been cancelled) is how ill-prepared a lot of businesses are for the whole workforce working remotely.

I have spoken to global businesses this week who have been testing the entire business on the VPN network for the first time to see how that would hold up, as well as businesses who still think that working from home is a bit a of a ‘let off’ and are willing to accept that productivity will drop off as a consequence – despite having the sophisticated tech to support remote working.

To make one thing really clear here, I am not trying to capitalise and see the opportunity in a dire situation, my first thought is that I hope and pray for us all that we all stay fit and well and my heart goes out to anyone struggling themselves or with more vulnerable loved ones.  I am, however, completely, unashamedly, trying to ask businesses how ready they are for what will be a fundamental shift in how we work.  The shift itself is a good thing and if we are forced to implement / encourage more remote working at a quicker rate than we were planning, then that’s good for people and their flexibility and good for our carbon footprint and a bit of a silver lining!

The Project Bench recognises that the whole contract market has been hit hard by policy decisions on IR35 but the impact on business from the covid-19 pandemic demonstrates rather starkly why businesses need to buy in short term expertise to make step changes to how they operate.

Remote working and being connected relies on three distinct streams:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Systems

If any of these are not geared up to supporting a more remote way of working, then you are on shaky territory and each one is equally as important as the next.

If you have the system capability/IT infrastructure for people to work from home but people just don’t get it, it’s not the ‘done’ thing to work from home, or, its still seen as a privilege then of course you will have decreased productivity from your workforce.

If you have the right trusting culture and IT capability but no controls and governance such as long-lived habits of being less connected and communicative when working remotely then, despite good intention, you will end up with missed / duplicated or disconnected outcomes.

Finally, and probably most urgently, if your network / IT infrastructure isn’t scalable to support a remote workforce both in terms of functionality and security this needs urgent investment and must be supported by people and process changes too.

Here are just some of the consultants on The Project Bench that you may benefit from:

  • People Change & Communications expert
  • Programme Effectiveness Consultant – Controls and Governance
  • IT / Network / Infrastructure Programme Director and PM’s

To speak to me about any of the talent on The Project Bench that could help move your business forward please email anna@theprojectbench.co.uk or call 0333 123 2823

How connected are you really?

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