In less than two weeks we have all found ourselves in radically different operating conditions with drastically different challenges. It is indeed a case of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
In many ways, the disruption that the coronavirus is bringing to the business world and global economy is only just beginning. Emergency lockdowns, travel bans, squeezed supply chains as well as falling markets are already starting to hamper operations.
This week, Laura Ashley went into administration after talks with lenders over a possible rescue were reportedly derailed because of the virus. A statement from the retailer in the press said the coronavirus had “an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation”.
The words “immediate and significant” will resonate with many of us. UK organisations can, as yet, only estimate the impact it might have on their workforces. Government and industry bodies are pledging support but leaders themselves must act immediately to protect their organisations.
While virtual working is not a panacea, there is no doubt that it is a powerful weapon in a company’s armoury to help minimise the effects of the virus on daily operations. As a result, remote working has leapt to the top of the corporate agenda and major organisations are working hard to put their strategies in place.
One of the popular models emerging is a form of rotation working where teams are split and take it in turns to come into the office. A report in the Telegraph explained how Goldman Sachs is making such an approach work.
It has banned gatherings of more than 20 people and its 38,000-strong workforce worldwide will be split into ‘blue’ and ‘white’ teams.
The report outlines that in a memo seen by the newspaper, the bank will “operate across separate teams and locations, with the goal of reducing the density of people in our offices at any one time”. Staff will work as an assigned member of a blue or white team, alternating weekly between working from a main office or from home.
The virus will test the resilience and robustness of every organisation’s virtual working strategy and how effectively it will enable them to continue with their daily operations and practices.
But the switch to virtual working will mean that many meetings, workshops and other face-to-face programmes will simply not be possible and leaders must also be mindful what the impact of this will be.
The biggest challenge will be ensuring that teams are able to collaborate to the same level as they would if they were working face-to-face and that they workforces remain engaged and aligned with the company’s goals and mission.
Against this backdrop, clients are utilising Rialto Consultancy’s AI-C methodologies, which have been researched with Harvard Business School, to create viable and endorsed strategies and plans virtually, without the need for in person workshops or meetings.
More than 500 projects have been delivered successfully globally using the methodology and we believe it could become an invaluable resource to facilitate collaboration during the difficult period UK organisations are now entering.
AI-C gives stakeholders a voice and optimises alignment to secure coordinated actions to deliver critical business outcomes, including, for example, short-term plans, corporate strategies, transformations, growth goals and more.
Among the benefits clients are finding are that AI-C delivers clear stakeholder endorsed priorities, action plans, rich scorecard with KPIs and a roadmap which to collaborate on from virtual locations.
Recent projects have included:
- A US company, 51 people across the US and Canada, assembled a technology R&D alliance.
- 156 staff in seven countries, redesigned how major projects are conducted
- 172 staff across 19 countries, assembling a three-year departmental strategy.
None of us know how long we will find ourselves in this difficult period nor what ‘normal’ will look like when we come out the other side. We wish everyone good luck in dealing with their respective challenges.
In the meantime, our best chance is to use the tools and technologies at our disposal to try to work as close to “business as usual” as possible but we know it will be difficult.
Read more by Richard Chiumento, here
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