WFH: Time to Step Up and Lead


Last week I discussed that Business Continuity for both Aspect as well as our customers has taken on a whole new dimension.  Better yet, we have learned that the term “business continuity” has become an assumed deliverable by all companies. The true measurement of success is really whether your company has Technology Continuity as well as Workforce Continuity.  Let me give you some perspective about both of these categories as well as what I would consider the next key operating category – Leadership Continuity.

Leadership Continuity, in this case, is not another form of succession planning. No – it is all about how one leads and motivates a workforce that is spread out across tens or hundreds of independent sites called “homes.”

So – let’s break it down

Technology Continuity:

Aspect continues to support our call volumes from customers, running on our public cloud solution (Aspect Via® running on Amazon and Azure), our Hybrid Cloud Solution (run and managed by Aspect in our remote data centers) and our Private Cloud or Premise solutions.   In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced an increase in calls into our contact centers, but that has subsided in the past week, and we are back to tracking to our historical averages.  Through it all, we have achieved 100% of our SLAs in terms of call and resolution response times.  I could not be more proud of the Aspect Customer Care team.

Aspect also has an automated system we call Aspect® Proactive Management and Monitoring™ (APMM) which watches our network and devices we use to support our cloud and hybrid cloud solutions.  If we see any threshold passed, a problem ticket is automatically opened and tracked through to resolution. While we expected that the increased demand on our system would have increased our APMM alerts, I am happy to report that alerts are actually down year over year.  With more clients supported on our re-architected infrastructure, this is excellent news.

Also, we can see significant increased usage of our platforms by clients in certain industries (travel and hospitality).  We are proactively watching these specific clients in order to ensure that there are no issues.  In addition, we have halted any system changes that would affect any of our multi-tenant customers, unless it is considered an emergency.  All other system changes require specific sign-offs from the customer themselves.

Workforce Continuity:

We have seamlessly converted to supporting all of our customers using our Work From Home (WFH) model.  We are very proud of our worker’s flexibility and their ability to provide a high level of customer service.  As I reported last week, we were willing to provide free consulting hours to our customers to help them adapt to the WFH requirements instituted by state and local governments.   We have had eight clients take us up on the offer, and we were able to have an immediate impact on their current solutions – making them more resilient by customizing the features that they already own.

Lastly, we are kicking off the promised Webinar series on optimizing your systems use.  We have over 125 registrants for the first one which is being delivered on April 2nd and is entitled: Guide to a Resilient Contact Center: Establish a Work-from-home Workforce.

Leadership Continuity:

I will cover this topic more in depth in my next post, however, after 12 days of performing a WFH model, we have found that the next key task to be tackled is: How does a manger of people actually lead and grow their workforce, when they are all in different locations and focused on tasks?

Leadership continuity begins with managers over-communicating with employees and helping them stay focused on the job at hand; acknowledging the new normal, without overreacting to the daily news and accommodating the necessary adjustments to schedules and productivity as WFH is fully implemented. With that baseline, leaders must contend with the following next steps:

  • Micro-managing versus empowering
  • Measuring success versus judging work methods
  • Enforced reading versus educating
  • Measuring self-motivation versus assuming distraction

More to come on this thought.

Thank you all for your trust and your business.  Like many of you reading this blog, we are like ducks in a pond – seemingly calm as we glide across the water, while feverishly paddling below.  It’s a new normal, and in the end, true leaders will emerge in the face of adversity.

Ed Berndt

Ed Berndt