Blog Published: 23/04/2020

Blogger - Paul James

Working from home – no cause for pause

With staff in every sector now working from home, almost everyone’s daily lives have changed. We have learnt to adapt with new daily routines and even a few new skills.

Lots of people are accustomed to working from home because it’s what they’ve always done. But for others this is new territory. The show must go on. It’s a phrase so often used when adversity hits, but in the COVID-19 context it’s also a rallying call. Staff working from home need more support than ever, particularly staff for whom it’s all a new experience. Staying connected, and collaborating as a team, points to using software such as Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Skype, and many other similar tools. The challenge is bringing everybody up to speed, to keep a focus on tasks in hand, and sharing information and knowledge, as they once did in the office.

Don’t be home alone

I believe it’s essential to maintain and enhance skills levels through this period of social distancing, it can also bind teams together with a continued sense of belonging to a larger community. There are tools out there that offers a central repository where documents that everybody needs access to can be stored and easily retrieved. Team members are automatically notified when a document is added or changed, so that they are always up to date.

Businesses are not just coping with today’s crisis, they are also setting out to find ways of laying the groundwork for a post-COVID world and a tomorrow’s resurgence in activity, dynamism, and growth. As much as companies are planning, people are too. Individuals can’t just pause their career progression because their location has changed. 

The big question is: How can people keep moving forward – when there’s a momentous roadblock shutting down tried and tested ways of developing their abilities – ensuring skills are kept up to date?  At the same time how can employees keep motivating people, with the sort of personal career support that says “We’re here for you”?

The software option

Of the skills that some are acquiring, and many already had, the use of software tools for sharing, collaborating, conferencing regardless of location, is the essential ‘business-as-usual’ skill. The risk is that other more fundamental skills might fall by the wayside at a time of crisis. I’m talking about design software skills.

If you’re at home, who do you ask questions to when you encounter an issue? Your colleague? Google? YouTube? I’ve been looking at problems just like this in my last few blogs: about making the right tools available to staff to keep improving their skills, here, and supporting and motivating staff, here. It all adds up to committing to people so that they commit to you.

Developing at home

With the huge shift to home working in the last few weeks (and it will for sure continue for a little longer), ‘basic’ software skills that make it all possible will be critical. Hygiene factors and career progression will be equally important; how they are brought to life, monitored, and even evaluated.

It’s not just home ‘working’ that’s important, but it’s also about the entire business functioning in a sort of fluid way; delivering the company spirit to the worker at home, adapting to the now constantly changing shape of the workforce, flowing with it, accompanying and leading its new journey.

Home working will, for many, bring more downtime; this is time that can be used beneficially, to keep skills and careers moving forward. People can focus on skills gaps (which they can identify through a self-assessment in tools like KnowledgeSmart). In terms of monitoring and advancing people’s career progression, Pinnacle Series, the e-Learning platform specifically designed for the manufacturing and construction industry, offers career path monitoring and progression. It can provide holistic reports that summarise people’s achievements, skills, and goals. This enables managers to offer the right support to staff at the right time and to ensure that skills gaps are addressed as identified. It provides a report that enables the creation of a learning path which identifies learning modules which can then be tackled through Pinnacle Series, remotely. It becomes like a personal ‘logbook’ – even for classroom or virtual training.

The future is not on hold. The opportunity to focus on skills development is greater. Pinnacle Series can help provide the connection between people and their development, staff and management, today and tomorrow.

About the author

  • Paul James

Paul James

Head of CAS & DMS

With over 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing and business development within the IT industry, Paul has a great understanding of technology and the value that it can bring to businesses. Joining Excitech from Networking and Unified Communications integrator Koris in 2019, Paul has helped businesses align their processes including looking at their proposition, management and forecasting to help them become more efficient and build strategies to achieve their goals. With this breadth of knowledge and skills, Paul is responsible for Document Management Solutions (DMS) at Excitech which improves clients' efficiency and reduces risk. He is also responsible for Excitech’s Capability & Adoption Solutions (CAS) proposition which combines technology and professional services to help customers achieve their business objectives.
 

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