When the government suspended public transport as part of the preventative strategy for the spread of #covid19 in Uganda, I decided to put our remote working plan into action at Summit Consulting Ltd.
The thing is over 70% of our staff use public transport from home to office. This has been due to personal financial management strategies – if you are still young, why do you need a car which always depreciates over its useful life. The best decision is to invest in your education and intellectual property, income security and relationships.
Without public transport, no way to come to the office. The other alternative was using our company car to pick each one at a time. It did not make serious cost savings.
The better way was to work from home. That way, people are safe and have more time to work since the over 3 hours wasted in a traffic jam is applied to planning and execution.
But how do you coordinate the team of people working remotely?
Here is what we did:
- The summitTEAM forum. Our staff visits mentor.mustaphamugisa.com. The system tracks their login time. That is equivalent to the office clock-in time using biometric.
- After logging in, each staff is required to share their daily targets (generate Ugx. 2m from training and consulting in April 2020). Each staff has measurable targets that are linked to the top line (revenue growth) or middle line (costs management) or bottom line (profit maximization). Any task done by staff must be linked to this. It is like players in a football match – whatever they do, their target is to score more goals (revenue) or prevent conceding any goal (no unnecessary costs). Any player not working to achieve such any of these two targets does not deserve to be in the field. It is the work of the coach (manager) to identify such a player and remove them.
- These targets were set for each staff in the enterprise scorecard in the firm’s strategic plan, and they are the equivalent of the staff job description. The difference here is that they are clear and measurable.
- Once the overall targets are shared, the staff must then document the Tasks to achieve the targets. Remember, targets are monthly. But Tasks are daily. Tasks must be logical such that if performed, the set targets shall be attained.
for example, if staff plans to generate revenue of Ugx. 2m monthly, this means they need at least Ugx. 1m every fortnightly or simply put Ugx. 500,000 per week. Some staff may not make this money weekly, however, it could make Ugx. 3m monthly. This depends on the quality of their daily habits and tasks to attain the set targets.
On our forum, some staff share the updates, and are consistent, these are some of the outliers – the 20% who deliver 80% of the company revenue and profitability. And any leader wants such people on their team. Others share the updates today, then the following day, they don’t maybe they forget or just they are slow learners. Such people always exist but they are like a truck loaded with goods… on the uphill, it slows down, and then on the downhill, it speeds …
Others are stubborn and funny, they do not provide regular updates. Unfortunately for this, they have to be held accountable for their time. At the end of the month before salary is paid, such people must first submit weekly timesheets, end of month performance report and justification for attendance – were you working or just sleeping.
Remote working is not easy as it requires mature adults, not babies and children that must first be pushed to do the right thing. In this era of the pandemic, we are being taught to be pragmatic and self-starting. Take the initiative and do the right thing instead of first being reminded and updated.
To win as a remote worker, do the following:
- Identify which staff needs which level of remote access to which company resources?
- Create clear accountability for access. Have clear designated IP addresses, the timing for their access to a specific server, and the allowed roles to perform. Do not allow any dynamic IP address to access such a critical server. Make sure the connection to the production server is restricted and secured via VPN, whose security is up-to-date and tested
- Define clear targets for each remote work. Provide the standards for remote working. For each day, the staff must enrol on the platform at 8:00 am sharp and be expected on standby throughout the day as if they are at work. That way, they are accountable to the team.
- Challenge each remote worker to share their daily tasks so that areas for collaboration are identified and managed accordingly.
- At the end of each day, the remote worker should share an update on what was achieved, and what is still outstanding.
- The same process must be repeated daily.
Are you an SME involved in the service business? Do you need a platform for remote working? If yes, contact us for a free account and signup your staff to start delivering during this lockdown.
#staysafe. Work smart.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.