Covid-19 is permanently changing the way we consume services and work - but current state business operating models are underpinned by processes that often don't support the current needs and demands.
The real opportunity in this business environment is for enterprises to reconsider their current business models and make changes to support new ways of working.
Social distancing, ‘bubbles’ flattening the curve, elimination vs eradication – these are all terms which barely penetrated our consciousness two months ago but which we’re now all familiar with.
It’s also permanently changing the way we consume services and work. While the initial lock down period may be over in New Zealand and life is settling into new routines, many businesses are taking the opportunity to move to work from home models for at least some of their staff.
But current business operating models are underpinned by processes based on your teams working on-premise in centralised offices, and often don’t support dispersed and remote working arrangements.
Case in point: Your health and safety compliance and legislative obligations with regards to staff whether working from home or in an office.
While it might seem yet another challenge to deal with in an already difficult business environment, here at Quanton we believe it’s a real opportunity to consider the changes needed to your operating model in order to support the new ways of working and ensure New Zealand’s businesses are resilient and ready to face the challenges of the future.
We have a unique opportunity right now to consider how we reshape process execution, especially for non-value-added tasks.
We wanted to share one example of how we used automation in our own business to rapidly implement a process that supported an immediate need by supporting our people and de-risking our business.
Editors Note: Video content was recorded during Level-1 Lock Down.
At Quanton we truly believe future operating models will be defined by augmented workforces leveraging our people and technology to create digital operating models.
The reality is that, from both a financial and practical side, business process automation is needed now more than ever. Improving efficiency and productivity is now critical for many businesses and this will only be achieved if the human workforce has the capacity to focus on higher value tasks. Many businesses are also experiencing fluctuating demand and many are struggling to manage capacity through workforce models which lack flexibility and are difficult to change; But it doesn’t have to be that way for businesses who use smart technology and automation effectively.
De-risking health and safety – and supporting mental health
Health and safety is one example of where automation can help many businesses as they move to new business models, by improving governance and visibility into your team’s health and wellbeing and ensuring you’re supporting team members when they need it.
As we’ve already mentioned, remote working arrangements mean for many, their homes are now their place of work and that means company health and safety requirements extend to those homes. How are you showing that you have engaged and checked in with your remote staff, and that you’re on top of any health and safety issues that might be arising?
During the lock down period, Each day, every employee at Quanton received a simple automated email with a daily health assessment. It’s quick, easy – and unlike a nasal swab, completely painless! – taking just a couple of minutes for them to fill out.
The daily email, sent via Microsoft Outlook in our case, surveys the team with four questions around their health status in relation to Covid, as well as their mental and emotional wellbeing.
The automated process continually checks for responses from staff and once all responses are received or we reach the end of the day, results are summarised and, in our case, saved into a target location on our intranet and emailed to the leadership team.
It’s a simple process – using just Microsoft Forms, Outlook and Excel and taking just one and a half days to implement for us – with no human involvement required and it’s available free to all businesses, thanks to UiPath.
It’s a process their team in China developed when the country was first hit by Covid. Many governments across Asia Pacific advised businesses to document employee health. In UiPath’s it was a real health and safety issue - China was the epicenter for the initial outbreak and if one of their team was to be infected, they needed to know quickly and be able to trace who that person had been engaging with and quickly isolate them too. Moving quickly would enable smaller teams to be isolated, rather than finding out a week later and having to isolate an entire team.
But the UiPath Health Screening Bot isn’t just a practical business tool. It’s also a way of showing you genuinely care about your staff.
Here in New Zealand, where mental and emotional health are also key focuses, we use the process to help identify any staff who may be vulnerable and need additional support and help. While nothing compares to the human touch, using automation provides an easier way of staying in touch at scale and ensuring no one slips through the cracks. It enables companies to direct the time they do have available to helping those who might be struggling, particularly with isolation or with unsafe or unhealthy home environments.
As a company with a predominantly young, single, apartment dwelling employee base, we’ve seen firsthand how isolated they can become – 24 hours a day at home for four weeks can test anyone, particularly those who thrive on engagement.
Even within an office environment, for big businesses, with multiple levels of hierarchy, it can be hard to have direct visibility of the staff who you’re responsible for. The UiPath Health Screen Bot is a starting point in providing a good level of oversight.
Getting audit ready
Just like the sending, the reporting is all automated with no human intervention required.
While we’ve kept our reporting simple - all of the management team receive a summary of the results with the email flagging any areas of concern before they even open the results - it’s also easily customisable to cater to more complex businesses.
You might choose to have multilayered reporting or more fragmented reporting, depending on your needs.
Automated graphic tools provide easy visual aids for tracking overall results, while the system is also keeping a history of all daily results. That’s a key feature, ensuring that if a business is ever audited from a health and safety perspective, it can show it was engaging with its team, and the responses, whether concerns were flagged and where responses were required.
It’s a simple process but one which can de-risk potential health and safety issues and support the mental and emotional well being of staff.
This is an example of one process. The real opportunity in the current business environment is for businesses to reconsider their current business models and make changes to support new ways of working. In doing so, we can all help ensure New Zealand is resilient and ready to face the challenges of the future.