If there’s one thing that drastically changed how businesses operate and handle employees’ workload today, it is the COVID-19 pandemic. With the lockdowns, restrictions, and sluggish economy the world is experiencing today, entrepreneurs, investors, and company owners are doing their best to keep their businesses running.
In this post, you’ll learn how the current pandemic has changed the way businesses handle employees’ workload so that you can adopt the best practices for your own business.
Giving Greater Value To Frontline Workers
The importance of frontliners cannot be overemphasized nowadays. In the past, frontline workers, including utility personnel, nurses, and medical aids, had the lowest salary rates.
With the onset of coronavirus, big business firms, like Target, Walmart, and Kroger, have stepped up with wage increases and special bonuses for their frontliners. Also, Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods workers went on strike for better pay and improved safety conditions.
Finding The Best Online Platform For Interaction Management
Business communications involve interaction management. But, if there are multiple online communication platforms being used, confusion and burnout may arise not just on the part of your clients and customers, but also among your employees.
With podium.com, every interaction is found in one platform. It’s an easier and more convenient way to stay in touch with your customers, stakeholders, and other important people that make up your business. Interaction management software provides countless benefits, including the following:
- Winning more leads: Turn your online prospects into leads or offline buyers by providing them a way to get in touch regardless of wherever they are.
- Earning repeat customers: You can turn your existing customers into promoters by promptly answering their queries, scheduling appointments, and closing deals without using phones.
- Become more productive as a team: With a reliable interaction management software program, you can do more as a team. Collaborate and connect with your team using the same platform you use to interact with customers.
The term “skeletal workforce” is not new. It refers to the minimum number of working staff members needed to operate a business during the weekend, a vacation, or another period when full staffing isn’t necessary or people don’t normally work. It has been used in emergency situations in which employees are still being sent out to work to provide public health and safety, and other basic services or essential goods.
Here are the important things you have to know about skeletal workforce:
- The number of employees working in a specific shift is reduced.
- The reduction of employees involves placing one key employee or a limited number of employees to perform a specific role.
- At the moment, a skeletal workforce is being applied to businesses that are allowed to operate, like those that manufacture essential goods, such as food, toiletries, and healthcare items, like alcohol, mask, and personal protective equipment.
Use Of Automation Tools
Even before the pandemic, businesses that want to gain an edge over their competitors consider automation to simplify business operations. While businesses that are not tech-savvy or are implementing traditional practices might be apprehensive about the concept of automation, it’s a must to embrace automation as a part of the “new normal”.
Here are the benefits of automating business processes:
Simplifies And Streamlines Repetitive Tasks
Are your employees spending most of their time working on repetitive tasks? Well, these tasks can easily bore them out and eventually affect their productivity, which can take a toll on your business’s performance. With the help of automation software, however, repetitive processes are greatly reduced, so your employees can focus on more important business areas.
Automation helps boost the productivity and morale of your employees. Investing in scheduling software makes reporting, generating reports, scheduling social media posts, and delivering email marketing campaigns a lot easier, most especially during this pandemic.
Reduces Labor And Overhead Costs
A busy workload would only mean hiring more people to do the job. Many companies are even outsourcing work or paying a hefty amount of money to agency workers just to fill in any work gaps. However, business capital and profits or ROI are greatly compromised because of the coronavirus as there’s a lot of uncertainties about the future of businesses.
A practical solution is the use of automation to eliminate manual processes. It’s one way to improve your bottom line and reduce human error, which could potentially cost you thousands or millions of dollars. For example, if you’re into a food production business, a minor mistake in packaging that leads to food poisoning can bring forth serious legal consequences and ruin your business reputation.
Prevents The Spread Of Coronavirus
Automation opens the doors to more business opportunities while maintaining safety protocols to avoid the spread of coronavirus. By automating business processes, human contact is lessened, and so as the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Improves Customer Service
Using automated phone lines is a good idea during this pandemic. These can be programmed to take messages for non-essential queries, take payments, and provide customers with ample information, tasks that a human customer service operator might struggle to recall accurately.
Allows You To Undertake Tasks At Higher Levels
If you want to attain your business goals faster, automating business processes is one of the best solutions. Automation involves the use of machines to increase work capacity without compromising quality. Automation tools can increase the efficiency and profitability of your company.
Accelerating Digital Transformation To Make Work-At-Home Possible
COVID-19 forces businesses to accelerate their digital transformation. Now, more than ever, it’s important for everyone to have easy access to the same work information even when working away from the office or at home. Say goodbye to long PowerPoint presentations and make your agenda more focused, cutting meeting times dramatically.
Here are some key aspects and tips when managing employees’ workload remotely:
Employee Work Schedule
Make sure that your employees have compatible devices and Internet speed for your preferred interaction management software. Set a dedicated time similar to business hours to meet and work with your employees remotely.
Remote Work Management
Mimic all the visual assets in your office computer by using a good remote desktop app. The same is true for workers who work remotely but have home desktop computers they need to access while on a trip. One good example of the remote desktop app is TeamViewer, which is available for Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, and Android.
Time tracking software has been used by remote workers or freelancers even before the current pandemic. It is used to calculate the number of hours worked for the day, which is especially helpful if you pay your employees on a per hour basis. If you want a more flexible task tracking method, paying workers per project or accomplished task is also a good idea.
If you need to train your employees to adopt digital transformation or use new software, you can do it online, too. You can create e-learning modules for them. By doing so, they’ll get acquainted with the new system, enabling them to perform various tasks faster and easier, resulting in a more productive business. For instance, if your business is an advertising agency, you might want to switch from traditional print ads (e.g. banners, custom shirts, flyers, brochures) to online ads.
You can do this by creating tutorial videos on how your employees can create Facebook ads for your customers or teaching graphic design to them to create online brochures or product catalogs. Thus, the workload is shifted from traditional ads to online ads, which promises to provide alternative sources of revenue for your business until things get better.
Salary Or Mode Of Payout
There are plenty of payment options available nowadays, such as online bank transfers or the use of third-party payment solutions, like PayPal and Pioneer. Discuss flexible payment options with your team to find out their preferences for you to set a standard method of payment for faster processing.
Diversifying And Segmenting Workload
With social distancing and lockdowns imposed on work areas, diversifying and segmenting workloads are the latest trends. If your employees tend to multitask before the pandemic, it’s crucial to consider their health and safety during this time, in compliance with employment laws, as well as to keep their morale intact. So, how can businesses diversify and segment workloads?
Here are some helpful diversifying and segmenting workload tips:
Instead of large teams that you and your employees were used to having before the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a good idea to create mini-teams to reduce crowds and sources of potential virus exposure, most especially for essential businesses.
Prior to the current pandemic, business operations were full-blown. However, there have been a lot of restrictions imposed by state and federal governments. So, if you want your business to thrive, you have to reduce losses as much as possible by creating mini-tasks, which can be assigned and accomplished remotely.
Aside from segmentation, customer segmentation is also a vital aspect of workload management. By serving segments of audiences, you can assign your mini-teams to work with them, allowing them to accomplish tasks faster and in a more straightforward manner.
For instance, you can segment your target audience into frequent buyers, occasional buyers, and seasonal buyers. You can retain key employees to serve frequent buyers and hire part-timers to work with seasonal buyers. Doing this will save you money from paying out a large number of full-time employees, while still giving other people a chance to work during peak seasons.
Seek Offshore Services
Aside from your employees working remotely at home, you might also want to designate tasks to offshore workers who are not affected by COVID-19. If you’re into e-commerce production or an international seller, hiring the services of a fulfillment service company can help you with manufacturing or mass production if you can’t do it in your main production area.
Here are some important considerations when hiring offshore services:
- Compatibility: It would be nice to hire an offshore agency with core values that align with those of your company. By doing so, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that you both want the same results. You can read about the company’s core values, along with their mission and vision, on their website, specifically in the “About Us” section.
- Expertise And Experience: Undoubtedly, you’ll find a lot of offshore freelancers and agencies offering services nowadays in online advertising platforms, like Upwork, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and Fiverr. Choosing from a pool of offshore companies can be confusing, so you might want to consider the experience and expertise of the company.
- Reputation: Read client testimonials and online review sites to know how the company handles and delivers their outputs, and if previous or current clients are satisfied or happy with their services. Taking into account the company’s reputation is crucial to help you narrow down your options before making a final decision.
- Contact The Company: Interview a representative or a staff member from the company or the freelancer offering the services. Usually, rates for freelancers are more flexible and affordable, with quality of work that matches that of agencies. Of course, contacting the company or freelancer enables you to get a feel of their customer service and contact channels, giving you an idea whether or not you can rely on them when problems arise.
Indeed, people and businesses have learned so much from the current pandemic. When it comes to handling employees’ workload, interaction management, and workload management tools play a crucial role in the success of any business. Companies have adopted work-at-home strategies for employees to still continue working and getting paid even if they are in the confines of their respective abodes.
Now, more than ever, many frontliners are at a much higher risk of getting exposed to the coronavirus. That’s why businesses should consider increasing their wages and adding more benefits to protect their health and safety, as well as their families. With digital transformation, businesses can cope and recover from their losses, and enable them to easily embrace the “new normal” by learning about and implementing employee task management and sales and marketing techniques.