Bain Dry Powder: The Private Equity Podcast With Vista’s Robert F. Smith. PART 1 PART 2

Insights / Remote Working Best Practices to Carry Forward

Remote Working Best Practices to Carry Forward

The transition to working from home was abrupt and unexpected, but some organizations were more prepared to make the virtual leap than others. Throughout the transition, we’ve witnessed enterprise software companies and their employees band together to stabilize business operations virtually — not just for their customers, but also for their business continuity.

As the Vista ecosystem made the shift to working virtually, we learned that Vista and our portfolio of companies were generally prepared to embrace this new challenge. Building upon existing enterprise software applications that support a virtual workforce, our management teams supported their communities and each other through their solutions and the exchange of best practices for virtual leadership. Quickly, we worked together to advance forward.

Yet as we reflect on the first half of 2020, shelter-in-place orders have upended traditional work processes regardless of preparation. For enterprise software companies that can work remotely, these mandates pushed new outlooks around scheduling, productivity and morale. Through it all, the upside has become clear very quickly. New remote processes have shown how much the workday can adapt. They have also maximized the potential of team engagement through collaboration. Most importantly, change management has been normalized, with tremendous opportunity to innovate how we lead and manage our organizations.

So, what have we learned that will stick with us well into the future? Here are four remote working practices we should maintain when transitioning back to an office environment.

Empower Employee Productivity

During the shift to remote work, some employees found themselves playing many roles simultaneously, rotating between caregiver, coworker and teacher. Companies have supported this juggling act by offering more flexible schedules and encouraging employees to communicate with greater transparency.

Productivity tools have helped teams collaborate remotely while allowing employees to better determine their bandwidth. On the other hand, many organizations have reported higher contribution and engagement among their employees — so much so that leadership teams are considering how they can support a better work-life balance in a new “always-on” reality.

These challenging circumstances have had a unifying effect, offering us all an opportunity to reflect on our shared humanity. Businesses that continue to lead with empathy and support both individual and team performance will likely see compelling results.

Meet Customers Where They Are: Online

Giving top customers special focus and attention strengthens loyalty, satisfaction and retention — even virtually. Webinars on product roadmaps, business updates and thought leadership enable companies to reach more customers than in-person events — and for a fraction of the cost to everyone.

Customer-to-customer interactions and best practice sharing among peers are successful tactics to build community among users. These approaches are easy to foster virtually. Webinars also offer opportunities for new business prospecting, and since they are low commitment, they make it convenient for prospects to learn more and for staff to build sales pipelines.

Getting creative with the customer experience is always critical for business success. Think about what matters most to your customers and embrace the change to support your customers.

Leverage the Power of Virtual Meetings to Advance Future Capabilities

Besides being cost-effective, virtual collaboration enables global participation. With the right tools and objectives in place, more can be done virtually now than ever before. By using interactive tools such as live polls and real-time Q&A, virtual meetings can be more engaging, inclusive and productive than in-person meetings.

For leadership meetings, CEOs can level the playing field and encourage equal participation from the entire group through a virtual format. Virtual social events and team-building activities also offer flexibility and build rapport among coworkers.

Business leaders understand the challenges and benefits of virtual meetings because they have had no choice but to embrace them. We hope to be in the same room as our coworkers in the future, but for now, leaders should weigh the pros and cons of virtual or in-person gatherings when planning corporate meetings.

Build on the Surge in Technology Adoption

COVID-19 has proven the power of remote working tools, such as video conferencing and other communication platforms, productivity apps and security tools. Many businesses and employees are thriving with these technologies in a virtual environment. Looking to the future, telecommuting technologies will continue to help organizations optimize processes, stay connected and collaborate well beyond shelter-in-place orders.

Enterprise software companies should capture this opportunity for their organizations and the customers they serve. They can build on the momentum and appetite for digital transformation as change management becomes the new reality.

A Catalyst for Company Transformation

COVID-19 has dealt endless challenges to the business community, but it’s also served as a powerful catalyst for workplace transformation, sparking innovation and collaboration across sectors. From fostering strong virtual engagement to enabling more productive and flexible work routines to rethinking the customer experience, we expect these lessons to become embedded in business operations for many organizations moving forward.

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