Despite the easing of lockdown in the UK, many office-based businesses are taking a slow approach to returning.
Now that more organizations have proven that people can work remotely for months, this idea is infiltrating even the most office-centric cultures.
However, how does this affect service management’s role when it comes to new joiner/mover/leaver processes?
The focus on staff change requirements
Traditionally, organizations’ management of IT requirements for staff changes are probably 1-2 points lower on the maturity measure than they’d like it to be.
While some have well-polished processes, many don’t and they struggle to meet business expectations.
To tackle this issue, for example, I’ve seen service level agreements which demand five days’ notice for a joiner request. That said, it didn’t stop the business telling IT about a new starter on Friday afternoon for a Monday arrival. This problem has led to some IT departments reporting to the CIO the number of times a business has failed to notify them of changing staff requirements.
This story is repeated in virtually every organization, which has increased the focus on this problem. And that was even before the remote working revolution brought on by Covid-19.
Service management learnings from lockdown
During this period, there has been a lot of intense effort to enable people working remotely. This has put a strain on processes and raises questions about how to manage this new way of working.
People need the capability to do a proper week’s work from home, which means having the right kit, support, delivery and maintenance. There is also the future issue of how to get the kit back, which is another story.
When a new starter arrives at a physical office, reception takes them to their workplace, introduces them to colleagues and (usually) has a computer ready. Conversely, if that person is starting a job but remotely, it’s much harder if the laptop hasn’t arrived and they can’t join their first Zoom meeting. Who does the person ask for help when the natural fall-backs in an office aren’t there?
The remote-working person needs to be set up on day one with a computer, software, access and information about communications tools. And they need to know how to access the service desk for help!
Smoothing the remote worker experience
What are some simple things that service managers can do now to make the remote working experience better for staff?
Consistency: adopting the same tools for messaging and meetings helps.
Information: make crib sheets and videos available to help people get the best out of the equipment and tools. For example, how do you get screenshare to work on your video application? How do you check sound settings?
Headsets: providing headsets that are of high quality and consistent across all users helps with maintenance and understanding.
Learning, training and certification for the new normal
Learning and certification such as ITIL® 4 hasn’t changed because of Coronavirus as all the best practice principles are designed to be location and service agnostic.
Therefore, ITIL principles focused on service demand, design, value, communication and culture are equally relevant now as they were before lockdown. What has changed is the nuance of the dispersed workforce.
In general, service managers should ensure they understand what the business needs, because the business will change. That means knowing the things that cause the business pain and where IT-related problems will create the most disruption. The requirements around joiner/mover/leaver activities certainly fall into the categories of “pain” and “disruption” if not managed properly.
So, maintaining your connection with the right managers, adapting your communications style to get the information you need and fully understanding their challenges is what’s necessary for the new normal.