Tips for Maintaining Quality and Productivity in the Age of COVID-19
By Jason Lipes
April 14, 2020
Over the past few weeks companies, where possible, have shifted to a work-from-home environment due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Whether you’re accustomed to working from home or not, I can almost guarantee the current situation has interrupted your daily workflow.
Many of us now have kids at home because school is canceled, we may have elderly family members we need to shop for, or our daily activities such as going to the gym are no longer an option. Whatever those changes may be, they’ve caused our previous routines to go out the window.
The unfortunate result of a stressful, life-altering event like this is a reduction in productivity and an increased possibility for errors and/or defects, depending on your line of work. It’s my team’s responsibility at Wheels to ensure productivity KPIs remain steady in both the calm and during the storm.
With this article, I’d like to get you thinking about ways to stay productive while reducing defects and errors in this hectic environment we’re all now living in. Here are my suggestions:
Create A New Routine
If you do a search online, you’ll find several articles providing guidance on how to make the shift. Think about it: Our daily routine is a process just like any business process. You have steps that you must follow, and they probably need to be done in a certain order to be most effective.
“Set an alarm and have a consistent morning habit or ritual,” said Chelsea Rivera, head of content at Honest Paws, to Forbes.
“Go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you get enough sleep and then wake up at your usual time,” said Em Sheldon, freelance writer to BBC.
“Just like you shower and dress before you go into the office, do so before you start your workday at home. It lets you mentally shift from early morning “home” mode to work mode—and you’ll be ready to tackle that day’s responsibilities as soon as you sit down in front of your PC,” says Chris Morris in Fortune.
Anticipate Process Changes And Act Quickly To Remedy
Think through the key processes you perform daily and assess if there have been any changes. If there have been, what can you do to make them as normal as possible?
For example, previously I stopped by each of my direct reports’ offices each day to see how things were going. Being remote has changed this, I can no longer just pop in to say, “Hi.” To accommodate for this, I use our internal communication platform, Microsoft Teams, to do a virtual check-in. I’ve found that a quick video chat is almost the same. I felt it was important to continue this routine as it demonstrates to the team that I am there to support them.
Assess what team processes have changed:
- Do you need to make changes to upstream or downstream processes?
- Have all stakeholders been notified of the change?
- With the change, have you documented the new process?
- Have you observed (virtually) each of your team members performing the new process to ensure they understand and can complete it properly?
Monitor Performance To Ensure Consistent Service Levels
Every day we are getting new information, and even the best models can’t predict exactly how long this will last. You may be handling things fine now but if stay-at-home orders remain in place some other processes may need to change down the line. Take those into consideration now so you’re not rushing to find a solution at the eleventh hour.
Ask yourself what other recent changes have the potential to affect the quality or productivity of your organization? Taking a few minutes to think through this and implement countermeasures could save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
You may need to modify or create new dashboards to see the full picture. Instead of the physical whiteboards our operational departments daily huddled around to stay on track of goals, they’re sharing digital spreadsheets.
As a data-orientated organization, we already had many dashboards in place to ensure operational performance is maintained. However, as the nature of remarketing has changed (currently all live auctions have been moved to simulcast), we’ve built a new dashboard to better monitor the sales of vehicles to see whether the values are staying steady. This informs our recommendations to clients on whether they should sell or hold onto vehicles.
As a parting tip: Consider making a checklist of everything you should be monitoring each week to ensure you’ve crossed off all tasks by week’s end. Anything missed should be your top priority come Monday morning.
At Wheels, we are constantly thinking about this and much more to ensure your business keeps moving. If you would like more information about the actions we’re taking, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center or reach out to a member of your Wheels Account Team.
If you have other thoughts about this article, please reach out to me at email@example.com.