Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have faced the challenge of reorganizing their current business from a regular office-based to a completely remote one. However, many of them were not able to switch to online immediately, which resulted in a partial suspension of their activity or even company closure. Is it worth considering what was the reason for difficulties in work reorganization: the unwillingness of employees to make changes, a leader’s low competence in terms of decision-making and adjusting to the new conditions in team management, or a lack of appropriate tools to operate in the home office mode? Well, there are many signs that accessibility to the right tools is crucial.
Implementation of NAVIGATOR for remote work organization
So let’s take a look at Archman as an example of how the Team Leaders from the production department prepared their teams to work remotely and, consequently, how the whole company handled the switching to remote working.
How to organize remote work in the company?
Before the pandemic, in the Archman’s team of several dozen people, some worked on a stationary basis, and some who worked remotely. However, when the lockdown was announced, we had to get the whole team prepared to work from their homes, like many similar companies.
Was that a problem for us?
Not really. Previously, we have used NAVIGATOR and its functionalities to organize our work daily, while for everyday communication with employees, we have implemented MS Teams in addition to chat and task comments within the system. Therefore, the remote work was not difficult to implement, the employees quickly adapted to the new situation. However, we had to prepare a good plan for the task realization and monitoring, because we were aware of the home office “distractions” and weren’t sure whether all tasks could be performed in the same way as in the case of stationary work.
We work in the SCRUM methodology, which means that the tasks are done in two-week sprints. During the sprint planning meeting, the whole team prepares the tasks for realization, using one of the NAVIGATOR modules: Projects and Tasks. This is the so-called pool of tasks, which is used not only to split the work but also to monitor the task performance. The teammates and I define a starting point for the work, and everyone chooses a task from the pool. Their performance is constantly updated in the employee’s working timecard. The employee is obliged to fill in a timecard for a two-week period. Should they manage to complete all current tasks, they can choose a new one from the pool.
Each of the employee’s tasks has its own process and appropriate status. You can monitor the work progress in real-time by using a report in NAVIGATOR. We can see which tasks are in progress, which ones are being tested, as well as those awaiting completion. We meet daily at 10:00 a.m. online via MS Teams and provide a timesheet with information about the stage of the assigned task By the end of the sprint we have a summary of the two weeks of work, i.e. a presentation on the accomplished tasks. The team members share their screens to present their tasks and the way they have solved the assigned problems.
The feedback is extremely important in this case (in the SCRUM methodology this process is called a Sprint Retrospective), i.e. specifically how the employee performed the task, and what distracted them, and what impact other team members’ work had on them.
NAVIGATOR also gives us the possibility of working time tracking, thanks to the module for monitoring a person’s progress (working timecard). How does it look like in practice? So, each employee is supposed to fill in what they have been working on and how much time they have spent on a particular task by the end workday or its completion. A new timecard is generated automatically, in the morning, during the first login to the system. It enables the team leader to monitor the progress of the employees’ tasks.
E-document – a new employee contract
How about contracts and compensation?
One convenient solution we use for our company is an electronic signature. Whenever it is necessary to sign a contract with a particular employee, the HR department prepares an appropriate document in NAVIGATOR using the HR and payroll documents module. Obviously, this document includes a workflow process, involving an HR manager and an employee. Basically, the HR department uploads the agreement signed by the employer to the system, and the employee signs it with an electronic signature. Such a solution significantly shortens the time needed to complete the formalities and, above all, is safe and convenient for both parties.
The current global situation has forced many companies to switch to remote work. Things that in many cases seemed impossible, in the face of necessity became a fact rapidly. The companies as well as their employees started to see the advantages of remote work. There are obvious benefits for employers, among others, these are obviously the possibility of reducing office space or opening up the labor market in search of specialists all over the world for remote work. The employees are also satisfied with the advantages of a home office, such as time-saving, the possibility of working from anywhere, or the lack of so-called office distractors.
Noticing the undoubted advantages, we must also remember the risks of this form of work. A challenge is not merely to prepare tools that facilitate communication within the company, but also provide an opportunity to supervise and review the work progress. The full digitalization of documents and company processes, e.g. in HR, becomes a necessity.
As you can see from our experience at Archman, the remote working model was implemented quickly and efficiently using NAVIGATOR solutions. However, being loyal to the scrum principle of “Inspect&Adapt”, we try to observe and listen to our employees’ comments and then implement new ideas and solutions to improve and optimize our remote work. This agile approach considering the need for a quick change and adjusting to the new conditions is one of NAVIGATOR’s main features.