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3 Tactics to Maintain Operational Visibility During a Crisis

April 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to a work-from-home setup overnight. This poses challenges in terms of duplicated work. Here’s how to avoid that.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to abandon their bustling offices and transition to a work-from-home setup overnight. Now that employees can’t simply drop by their co-worker’s desk or schedule a quick in-person meeting, operational visibility is down.

When employees can’t get a holistic view of operations, they’re more likely to duplicate tasks unnecessarily, lowering both the capacity and efficiency of work. But the right remote-work processes can help businesses increase operational visibility and avoid duplication of work to maintain productivity.

More Operational Visibility Means Less Duplication of Effort

One reason the pandemic is causing work duplication issues is that many company leaders didn’t consider disaster response a critical business need before COVID-19. Now, however, many are seeing that a crisis like this can fundamentally change operations, and disaster response capabilities can help businesses of all types respond to an external crisis and manage any resulting operational changes.

Purpose-built crisis management software can give businesses visibility where they didn’t have it before, allowing them to act strategically to swiftly adjust in times of crisis. Lacking this, companies get stuck in reaction mode, responding after the fact rather than getting ahead of the situation.

Another issue is that companies that are working remotely through this crisis are abandoning their core enterprise systems. The flow of historic information between remote teams is slowing to a trickle, making collaboration difficult. As normal processes go out the window, it can be difficult to keep a clear line of sight on responsibilities. For example, if multiple team members call to check on vendors or supply levels, not only is that a waste of time, but it also causes some frustration. Without clear task management, this sort of duplication is bound to occur.

How to Avoid Duplication of Work and Maintain Efficiency

As business leaders figure out how to adapt and stay productive amid this crisis, the following strategies can boost operational visibility and efficiency now and into the future:

1. Develop a process to verify the completion of tasks.

During times of crisis when remote work is a necessity, visibility on task completion is more important than ever. This is the only way to maintain the integrity of your workflows and ensure your business is meeting its responsibilities.

Say your business is responsible for spraying down the subway to disinfect surfaces, for example. If you have employees take photos and upload them to a shared workspace to document that they completed their tasks, then the next people working in those spaces will know what’s been done and what tasks they should start with.

By figuring out a simple, clear way to verify tasks, you’ll gain valuable operational transparency that will help your business stay connected and focused on the mission at hand.

2. Identify the tools that will manage and encourage collaboration.

Know what tools your business uses that contain job content and process documents, and make sure employees know where to find them and understand your established workflows for every type of task. If these documents are in paper form, digitize them as soon as possible so they can be quickly updated.

Software like Coolfire can take this one step further, making processes more multidimensional and dynamic. For example, you can build a real-time operations manual with integrated chat, tasking, status updates, and notifications. This kind of technology can become a digital twin of sorts, helping you self-organize by synthesizing the tools of record, workflows, communication, and collaboration.

3. Clarify roles and responsibilities.

If everyone knows what he or she is responsible for and how and when tasks should be completed, duplication of effort should not be an issue. If you haven’t already, map out which employees are responsible for what and who should take over if an employee becomes unavailable. The goal is to establish a shared operational picture of how your organization functions.

Going remote during a crisis can be difficult, but the right tactics can ensure your operations continue to run smoothly and help your employees avoid wasting time by duplicating work.