Above all else, being agile in business requires two things: speed and flexibility. Agile businesses expect change; they adapt quickly and effectively. Today, agility is what it takes to succeed — a truth that the COVID-19 crisis has certainly reinforced.
Companies that sought agility before the pandemic were likely undergoing digital transformation. Many already had remote workers or the capabilities to allow employees to work from home. Now, as constant change demands swift action, it’s the perfect time for those businesses to refine their processes for optimum response speeds and flexibility.
Not only will building a more agile framework help businesses get through these uncertain times — it will also prepare them to react to unforeseen changes in the future. This could bring big opportunities to get ahead in the market.
How to Be Agile in Business — Even When Remote
Companies can gain speed and flexibility through a few key points of connection. These areas together allow teams to be fully informed, communicate in real time, act quickly and effectively, and adapt processes as needed. Evaluate how your business accounts for the following capabilities and pinpoint where you could be stronger:
1. Real-time information sharing
This is an essential part of being agile in business. If businesses are stagnant or slow, it’s often because people are waiting on the information they need to make decisions. The sooner the right people can get the right information, the sooner they can recognize the need for adjustments and make changes accordingly. Sharing information in real time means having the appropriate sensors, systems, real-time file and document sharing, and immediate communication available to all employees exactly when they need it.
2. Instant and easy communication
When evaluating how you can better enable real-time information sharing, start with looking at the efficiency of your communication methods. Communication between co-workers shouldn’t feel like unnecessary chatter. In fact, if employees find that their Slack channels are suddenly blowing up as they transition into remote work, this is a symptom that the company’s existing systems lack a means of immediate communication. Many core systems do not include persistent chat functionality to connect employees to core data and necessary job materials.
3. Clear roles and responsibilities
In order to ensure employees are completing the right work at the right time, businesses need a way to clearly designate tasks so workers stay clear on their responsibilities as needs change. As managers designate tasks, they also need a way to deliver role-specific information and instruction to avoid confusion, set clear deadlines, and allow transparency into the process. These steps will help workers avoid duplicating tasks, allow for more focused work, and increase overall productivity.
4. Operational visibility
This one is trickier with a remote workforce. Being agile in business requires full transparency into every aspect of work to detect what needs to change. To achieve full operational visibility, you will need all of the capabilities above — along with a way to receive updated information about which tasks are completed and when.
Your processes should include a way to log and track activity and store this information in one location along with information updates and communication channels. This will take the burden off employees to submit status reports and save management from constantly asking, “Has this been done?”
Ensuring your company’s processes account for the above four connection points is essential for being agile in business. This is especially true for companies with compliance requirements because higher operational visibility allows for better adherence. All companies, however, need a consistent and foolproof way to communicate, get info in real time, delegate tasks, and monitor progress. If you can build stronger processes now and learn how to be agile in business — even during these trying times — your business will be much better equipped to adapt on the fly next time.
To learn more about how to strengthen your business during this crisis, read our blog post “What Has COVID-19 Taught You About Your Communications and Services?”