Seven tips for working digitally with your company beyond the coronavirus
Digital transformation for logistics companies
The coronavirus was a driving force behind digitalisation that managed to trigger the introduction of digital work processes across Germany within a very short time period, and establish them as acceptable working methods. Many logistics companies also took on the challenge of introducing work from home policies that kept businesses running through the lockdown. Plenty of employees learned to love remote work and companies were thrilled to discover that working digitally was not a problem. No doubt there are a few pragmatic company policies that have arisen out of the need to work from home.
But in order to make sure that the digital transformation is successful and sustainable, it is not enough to simply allow employees to move their work computers into their homes. Working from home requires a change in company culture such as that found at TIMOCOM. In this blog article, we will give you seven tips for creating a digital work from home culture within your company.
Initial scepticism followed by positive insights
The measures introduced to fight the coronavirus pandemic forced companies around the world to act. Almost overnight, employees had to make the change between working in the office and working from home. It was the only way for companies to remain in business. Before the lockdown, many companies and managers were very sceptical that working from home was a good idea. They did not believe that New Work could become the new normal. There was a lot of concern that employees would not be productive at home. Switching from the office to working from home meant changing organisational processes and digitalising operations. But after months and weeks of working from home, German companies have realised that it is possible for employees to work efficiently while not in the office, and in fact that doing so functions much better than expected.
Working from home has potential that can be expanded on
Employees surveyed for a study largely had positive things to say about the new way of working. They felt more productive and more satisfied with their work. It now seems possible that, over the long term, company culture will shift from an insistence on being present in the office to focusing instead only on work results, regardless of where those results are achieved from. The majority of employers (57 percent) are significantly increasing options allowing employees to work digitally, according to German public health insurer DAK.
But temporary digital measures must transform into organised digital processes in order to ensure that people can continue to work digitally after the crisis.
There are seven essential components required to ensure that companies can sustain effective digital work processes:
1. Make the change together
This will require excellent communication. Employees and other business partners must be up to date and part of the process during the transition to digitalisation and working from home. Their opinions are important and their needs should be taken into account in the new company culture. Management and the Executive Board, in particular, should hold discussions (even more) frequently with staff if they want to implement a successful work from home culture.
2. Make change possible
Working digitally means that it will no longer be practical - or prudent - to monitor work and working hours. If there is no longer a requirement to come into the office, and if employees are allowed to work from home, then it will be time to change how their work is evaluated. The focus needs to shift from whether or not an employee is present to how good their work is. This will allow companies to measure concrete results. Work should be assessed based on the quality and quantity of the tasks performed by employees.
3. New management culture
In times of economic uncertainty, in particular, it is more important than ever to trust that employees are engaged and committed to their work. And all managers have to adopt this attitude. Managers now have the task of motivating their employees and giving them room to adjust. The transition may not always go smoothly, in part because private homes do not always have space for permanent work stations and, for example, people are using their kitchen table as a desk while working from home. And even though the technical requirements for working from home are easily met, it can be hard for employees to separate their private and family lives from their work, particularly if nurseries and schools are closed and children have to be looked after at home. Offering flexibility under those circumstances is very important.
4. Define working conditions
The rules that apply in the office can also be applied to working from home. Standards that have been agreed upon by all parties provide clarity regarding online working hours and core hours in which employees must be available for collaborative work and meetings. All employees should have access to the same technical equipment and furniture to ensure that their workspace is ergonomic. Data protection and IT security must be addressed so that all employees know what is and isn’t allowed while working from home.
5. Rules for collaboration
Personal conversations and team meetings should go digital, not fall by the wayside. Video chats are preferable to conference calls, as they help foster a sense of community. Regular team meetings with a set agenda help to structure the workday and keep track of work progress.
6. Support and encourage discussions
To ensure social cohesion within a company, there must be space for employees to continue to talk about their day to day tasks and industry news, as well as engage in small-talk. Virtual lunch and coffee breaks can help to foster a sense of community and strengthen team building efforts. For example, a regular video chat appointment can help to replace ‘water-cooler chat’ in the office and give employees the sense that they are part of a team. Information is not lost in the void and people have a better sense of what is happening with their colleagues and in their team.
7. Digital infrastructure
Digital work processes can only run smoothly if there is no need to switch back and forth between programs. We at TIMOCOM know that, which is why we offer our customers all applications they need within a single System. In fact, the best way to achieve this goal is to have employees access work processes via a digital company portal.
A well-functioning digital company culture requires processes that are both digitalised and integrated. This means that information is exchanged, processes are optimised and quality control is carried out all in one place. That place is the virtual workplace, which takes full advantage of technical potentials.
It is important to note that in this environment, cooperation is decentralised, but networked. That means the physical work location is no longer important.
Working on the go or from home is no longer a problem, since the employee simply needs access to the virtual workplace.
Information is collected at a central point, work processes are online and transparent which improves cooperation. All relevant documents, functions and programs are hosted on a single platform that employees use to connect, communicate and work together.
From temporary solutions to digital company culture
The coronavirus represents an opportunity for the working world. After all, every crisis is also a chance for a company to optimise their processes. Many work processes can become faster, simpler and smarter with a digital company culture.
Companies were already moving in this direction before the coronavirus crisis and, during lockdown, came up with pragmatic, flexible solutions quickly that helped employees to work digitally. And now that the initial positive impression has been made, there is no need for companies to insist that their employees return to the office.
Why throw away the positive developments that came out of working digitally during the coronavirus pandemic when we have already proven that a decentralised work environment is both possible and productive? However, to make sure that these developments are sustainable, we need to make digital company cultures accessible to our employees and customers alike. Our mission: to make logistics digital and simple for all TIMOCOM users.
Take the first step by digitalising your transport processes.
You may also be interested in:
How data integration optimises logistics processes
TIMOCOM:The FreightTech Company is connecting Europe, digitally
How do you reduce corporate costs and optimise processes?