In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic threat, workers were told to work from home “just for a couple of weeks.” That optimistic timeframe gave organizations license to make do on how work was done, especially since every business was scrambling to adjust. As the global situation worsened and the need for isolation lengthened, bootstrapping processes quickly proved inadequate, and companies began to pivot. Most embraced remote working and the cascade of changes necessary to support it. Two years later, it’s clear that the workplace worldwide will never be the same.
When organizations were essentially forced to incorporate remote working into their day-to-day operations, they were also forced to remap their business processes.
For all the disruption the pandemic caused, the urgent, necessary, and practical response to it has lowered internal barriers to business process improvement and accelerated implementation.
- Organizations remapped myriad processes, prioritizing results and speed
- Processes long established through historical practices and inertia were refreshed and streamlined
- Opportunities for automation were welcomed instead of avoided, to support remote working
- Change management became the responsibility of every manager
- Buy-in from employees was guaranteed
As the world looks forward to a return to the way things used to be, some of the changes are here to stay. Employers might prefer to bring all employees back to the office, but that may prove more difficult, at least in the short run.
A September 2021 Gallup Poll reveals that 45% of white-collar employees are still working remotely, and nine out of 10 who are remote prefer it that way. Remote workers say wasting less time commuting translates into greater productivity, while office workers claim better concentration or collaboration. The way of the future is a hybrid of work environments, with a heavy dependence on connective technology and the need to remain adaptive.
The processes that were changed urgently in 2020 have been refined and documented during the last 18 months. As some of the staff returns to the office, organizations have the perfect opportunity to create synchronized and synergistic processes that support the hybrid work environment.
Take advantage of the opportunity the pandemic provided and build business process improvement tactics into your journey to the new normal. And if your organization doesn’t have the resources to maintain BPM initiatives over time, please get in touch with BDM Squared. We have the resources and the expertise to build on the BPM work you’ve already done. Schedule a free consultation with Missy Pitcher, managing partner at BDM Squared.