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Back to work, back to office or working from home? How to keep everyone happy!

Here at Synergi’s head office, we’ve had a busy and somewhat fraught week, armed with screwdrivers, cleaning equipment, PPE equipment, plastic screens, and hammers.  A whole day was spent dismantling desks and break out areas, carrying them up, and down, stairs, and re-assembling them all in some sort of arrangement that meets the new return to work safety guidelines.  It has been exhausting.  And what became very clear quite quickly was that we can’t have everyone back in the office, not all at the same time – even if they all wanted to.   So the next challenge was to figure out who to have back in the office, when to have them and for how long, how to monitor those who want to come back, how to make sure our team feels safe and happy in the office, how to keep communicating with those who either don’t need to work in the office, but can do so at home and are happy to, or those who just feel safer working from home and how often we need to check this is all still the case or if we need to change things up, or down.  Phew!  It makes your head hurt just thinking about it – and we bet we’re not the only ones.

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Fortunately we had sufficient supplies of good quality caffeine, so we all sat down to scratch our collective heads and figure this out (via MS Teams naturally).  We’re digital evangelists after all: collaborating, automating processes, simplifying the complex and manually tedious and coming up with a digital solution is what we do! We needed to treat ourselves like a client.  What would we do for a client coming to us with this issue?

In true Blue Peter style, there was a solution we’d developed earlier!  Or are currently in the process of developing if we’re going to be completely honest.

True Blue Peter style

We have a large Financial Services client who has asked us to help them with their back to office process. For them, this is an important distinction from Return to Work, as the majority of their staff are still working, albeit at home. Our client has defined a process that identifies staff into 4 groups – a Test group, Team A , Team B, and Team WFH (work from home) -based on personal circumstances and business needs. Following the initial test with the Test group, Team A and Team B will rotate between the offices and WFH every 3 weeks. With over 2000 employees, 3 working locations, and a need for continual re-assessment to understand any changes in personal circumstances or feelings about the working arrangements (and thus changing the make-up of the teams based on the output of the assessments), what they needed was an automated solution for this process. One which could run the assessments and re-assessments and capture the data required for management decision making, and integrate with an existing dashboard tool to show the results. Oh, and they needed a trial version in 2 weeks with a full roll-out within 6 weeks!

This was a job for Nintex!

(For more information on Nintex, click below, but essentially Nintex allows you to visually plan, map and manage business processes, automate them using workflow and RPA Bots and clicks, not code, and then optimise these processes leveraging the data created. Plus it eliminates paper forms and can capture information virtually anywhere.)

So our super Nintex ninjas here at Synergi proposed using the forms, workflow, and analytics capabilities of the Nintex platform to provide an automated solution to what could have been a very complex and time-consuming manual process. Initially, they identified the number of likely forms that would be needed such as a Self Assessment QA, Self- Declaration Form, Weekly Survey, Manager Task Forms (triggered if changes following 3 weekly reassessments), Desk Allocation Task Form and PPE Despatch Task Form.

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They then created a workflow to be triggered at the right time to send emails to all relevant staff with instructions and the Self-Assessment QA. We also set up SLA’s around the completion of the Self-Assessment QA to generate reminders if it wasn’t completed within a set time frame. The workflow allows for discussions between an employee and manager about their survey responses, and for any updates to be recorded in SharePoint Online. Once this is finalised the workflow takes over again and ensures that Task Forms are sent requesting desk allocation, and PPE to be sent out to the employee. Once that’s all in place, an email is automatically sent to the employee confirming their Group, Start Date, Desk Allocation, and any other starting instructions.

If an employee is in Team WFH, they receive an email confirming this and informing them that they will be resurveyed in 3 weeks. Those in Team A or B who are in the office automatically receive a link to a survey at the end of every week, and the process loops around again – all automatically.

We agreed that a version of this for our own Synergi team would be Very Helpful Indeed.  Although we have far less staff, and not as many locations to take into account, this process can be implemented quickly and simply with few alterations.  We’re now doing just that, with a plan to get people back in the office (if they wish to) within the next few weeks, on a rota system, with no headaches and stress – but perhaps just a few aching muscles and bruised thumbs from all the physical activity!

If you’re struggling with similar process issues, or are wondering how on earth to manage either a return to work or back to the office situation, let’s have a chat.  We won’t help with the furniture re-arrangements, but we can and will help with the processes and communications around it.

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