As your organization goes through these changes, your remote workers will need to stay connected with the company stance and any policy and guideline rollouts. Use a regular web conference, an Intranet and/or SMS broadcast messaging system to send out corporate communications rather than email. Provide tools for two-way communication so that remote users can communicate any concerns or questions they may have to clearly defined respondents.
Team Collaboration – Use regularly scheduled web conferences with team members to catch up on business and personal activities. Instant messaging tools such as Skype, Teams, Yammer, etc. can be helpful for quick team interactions.
Task Management – Many people are not used to working autonomously. Typical project management tools provided in the construction field are too complex for tracking simple day-to-day or regularly scheduled tasks. Instead, look to Kanban tools such as Microsoft Planner (included as part of an Office 365 subscription), Trello, Monday or other similar cloud-based platforms.
Training – Employees need training as they transition from working in an office to working remotely. Most contractors do not have any kind of Learning Management System (LMS) in place. From using basic screen recording tools included in PowerPoint to fully interactive training videos that track end-user’s progress, there are multiple solutions available for a range of prices that contractors can take advantage of. These tools will benefit the contractor now during the current pandemic and in the future.
Phones Usage – Most contractors have a VoIP-based phone system with unified messaging set up for calls to be forwarded from work phones to home or cell phones and voicemails can be sent as audio files or text transcripts to the intended recipient. When remote users have to use personal cell phones or home phones, guidelines will need to be provided for their use for company work as well as for expense reimbursement. If VoIP work phones are deployed to remote users’ homes, the E911 information will likely need to be updated. For contractors who are not using a modern VoIP system, they can subscribe to single or multi-line cloud-based solutions from hosted VoIP providers. They can port their existing office numbers or leverage 1 800 numbers that can provide much of the same functionality of an advanced VoIP system for key office personnel.
Time Tracking – Most contractors do not need to track time for office-based personnel. However, with remote users, this might become a requirement. Many ERP (Accounting and Job Cost) systems have the capability to track time even if it has not been implemented. If not, there are a wealth of time tracking tools that integrate with construction ERP systems. Alternatively, the same tools people used to track time out in the field may be possible to leverage for internal users.
Support – Finally, a good support team will play a critical role for remote users. To avoid IT getting swamped by support requests, contractors will need to define guidelines and a support workflow methodology. Leave the internal support team to focus on specific business application-based issues by leveraging third parties (managed service providers/outsourced helpdesks) to help with the initial onslaught of trouble tickets mostly related to home connectivity issues. Having a robust helpdesk system, ideally one that integrates with your UEM (Unified Endpoint Management) or CMT (Computer Management Tools), will be critical. The ability for end-users to see the status of their support tickets, manage escalations, and provide trend analysis will benefit contractors both now and in the future.
- Communication, leadership, compassion and respect for individual needs and perhaps above all, a sense of humor will be needed during this transition phase. This is an excellent time to take communication to the next level, work together and collaborate – with your vendor partners, owners, and everyone involved. Regularly communicate internally and with your construction supply chain.
- Organizations need to stay organized, outline their plan, and execute effectively for business continuity. Change is inevitable during this time and organizations and employees will have to be creative and flexible. Although there are technical elements that need to be addressed when supporting work from home users, please also keep in mind guidelines, training, communications and leadership that an organization provides.
- Now is the time for digitization to happen – teams and organizations are now using tools they did not think they would need. Some contractors may find these changes will make them more productive and more open to trying new things in the future.
- Give your employees breaks – they are experiencing a lot of change and distress. Support and provide them with the tools and resources they need.
In order to guide you through this process, Burger Consulting Group has developed this four-part series sharing the approach in which you can migrate your remote workforce.
If you need help navigating the landscape of solutions to get your organization setup, reach out to Burger Consulting Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to review the additional services Burger Consulting Group provides.