2020 has truly shown us that the world is full of the unexpected. These unprecedented times have highlighted the importance of making sure that your business is as protected as possible from disruption caused by external factors.
Creating a business continuity plan is an extremely important exercise for everyone from sole traders to multinational organisations. Putting strategies in place to mitigate complex or unexpected issues allows the organisation to continue during times of uncertainty.
In particular, making sure your service delivery team is able to perform their duties (even in times of crisis) is key. As it’s their duty to deliver customer satisfaction, it’s even more essential that they are able to do so during times when customers may also be experiencing difficulties.
If you don’t have a Plan B, important activities such as sending welcome packs and essential communications to customers might simply cease. That’s not a great look for your business, especially if your competitors are still able to provide a business-as-usual service.
Are your teams set up to work from anywhere?
When it comes to working from home, how can your operations team keep up with the high standards of service that customers expect?
Our Head of Products, Karensa Maton, shares her three tips on how to future-proof your organisation to be able to work from anywhere, at any time.
Is working from anywhere the new normal?
Working from home has been thrust into the spotlight this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading organisations to reassess their working practices. Even those who had previously told workers that their role could not be done from a distance have been surprised by how simple and efficient the change has been.
You might think that working from home is nothing more than a temporary fix to keep organisations running during a lockdown. However, millions of people have learned to embrace the situation, and many workers want to either continue working from home or have the option to do so when it suits them.
This means that it’s even more important that employers develop robust solutions that allow for normal business operation without the need for employees to be on-site. It’s also worth noting that those who are better equipped for home working are more resilient in the event of a crisis.
Working from home stats to consider
- Employees in the UK have had the statutory right to request flexible working since June 2014, but only 5% of workers (1.7 million people) mainly worked from home prior to COVID-19.
- An estimated 20 million British workers relocated to home offices to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- The UK was one of the world’s “least prepared countries to weather a mass home-working strategy”.
- 70% of the UK’s active workers (23.9 million people) had no prior experience of working from home.
- Following COVID-19, 60% of people would work from home if given the choice, and 52.6% of people don’t want to return to a normal office.
Are your workers tied to the office?
While lots of roles have been transferred to home working with little or no issue, others require an employee to be in a certain location, such as your mailroom operations. These areas are therefore at a greater risk of coming to a complete halt in the face of adversity, which could have a devastating impact on the business as a whole.
A useful exercise is undertaking an audit of your operations to determine which are truly bound to a certain location and which can be adapted to allow for greater flexibility.
Internal and external communications are essential operations that contribute to the smooth running and great reputation of an organisation. From a simple email to acknowledge a customer’s enquiry to a company-wide procedural update, the speed, clarity and security of communication are essential.
This messaging comes in many forms, including print, email and text messaging, and can often be time sensitive or business-critical.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine how easily your service delivery team is able to continue as normal, or whether you require a more robust procedure.
Do your employees have access to software?
Every day, your employees use a variety of systems and software to perform their duties. While it’s easy to give access to these essential systems in the workplace, can they be used remotely?
Here are some software access considerations:
- Can the software be accessed remotely?
- Is data stored locally or in the cloud?
- Do you have enough licences for everyone to use it at once?
- Does the software require a high-spec machine to run?
- What tech support is in place for employees?
How secure is your software?
The security of your software is also paramount. While it may be easy to police the use of software and its data in the workplace, how does this security stack up at home?
Here are some software security considerations:
- Is your data encrypted?
- Are you using two-factor authentication?
- Is your software GDPR compliant?
- Are multiple employees using the same log-in information?
- Are employees restricted to only accessing data that is essential to their role?
- Do employees need to access sensitive data or personal information?
Do your employees have access to hardware?
In your workplaces, each department will be adequately set up with all of the equipment needed for workers to perform their roles.
For your mailroom operations, this might include:
- Computers and laptops
- Printers and fax machines
- Paper folders and envelope stuffers (folding and enclosing machines or people!)
- Franking machines
Providing a full set of this equipment for each member to work remotely is obviously not feasible, both in terms of costs and available space in an employee’s home. However, you can outsource printing, envelope stuffing and postage to an external company.
Employees then only need to generate documents as and when they are to be sent before passing them on to the fulfilment company. This gives them more time to focus on other important aspects of the customer experience, such as following up with enquiries, checking that comms have been received in a timely manner, managing team members and tracking KPIs.
Some of the benefits include:
- No need to purchase, store or keep track of stationery and consumables
- Money saved on repairs and maintenance
- More time to perform other elements of their role
- greater quality control
If your essential business operations include getting documents to people within a certain timeframe, you need to consider what will happen should you lose access to the people, offices and equipment that makes it happen.
Whether it’s due to illness, holiday, or an unexpected crisis, how will you keep hitting the deadlines, complying with the rules and getting information out?
To do this, you need a service that you can use to print and mail from anywhere, that works wherever you work.
You need Aceni.