Combating the COVID-19 remote working challenge and avoiding Zoom fatigue

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Cutover’s Automation Runbooks

Ky Nichol

October 29, 2020

The shift to a largely virtual workforce this year has created many new challenges. Although remote working suits some people just fine, many are finding that sitting for long uninterrupted periods at a computer and enduring long, back-to-back video calls can make it difficult to stay productive.

In fact, a recent survey of company leaders across the technology, legal services, advertising, finance, insurance, and real estate sectors found that 40% have started to see decreases in productivity as staff work remotely.

Many people are learning to cope with optimizing fully-remote work for the first time. Most of us have experienced days where the Zoom meetings never seem to end and although we want to stay connected to our colleagues, this can be both draining and unproductive - and can lead to some odd work optimization like having to make a huge thermal cup of coffee at the start of the day because you know you’ll be glued to your desk! Working this way long-term isn’t going to be sustainable.

Do you really need all those video calls?

Working remotely hasn’t stopped your teams from needing to work on complex projects. Maybe they’re migrating to a new data center or cloud platform or rolling out a new system update or product feature. Chances are they’re using project management software, spreadsheets, emails, and of course, conference and video calls to manage and coordinate their efforts. 

But let’s face it, team status update meetings are boring. You may be positioning these video calls as “working” sessions, but chances are each team member only needs to give a five-minute update. Then they’re forced to sit through 45 to 60+ minutes of listening to everyone else’s updates— valuable time they could be using to attend to other, more productive, activities.

If your teams are using multiple tools to orchestrate their project activities, like tracking progress, requesting and sending updates, collecting approvals, and compiling status reports, there’s likely a considerable amount of manual effort required. And ensuring everyone is on the same page when there is no easily accessible “version of the truth“ often means getting everyone on the phone. This all takes time—a lot of time. Fortunately, all these tasks and most of those status calls can be eliminated. 

Automation and consolidation are the keys to productivity

So we know that managing and tracking a complex project can be laborious. Tools such as spreadsheets, project management software, service management solutions, emails, chat, and video calls all have their place, but your people can easily waste time moving between multiple tools. Consolidation is the name of the game. 

Cutover’s Work Orchestration and Observability platform integrates with third-party tools enabling you to consolidate your activities and extend the value of tools you’re already using. From project management tools like Jira, to build tools such as CircleCI, and marketing and sales tools such as Salesforce and HubSpot, the Cutover platform streamlines your operations by enabling you to work in one place, rather than across multiple toolsets and interfaces.

Using Cutover runbooks to orchestrate projects, teams build detailed, step-by-step workflows that include both human (manual) and machine (automated) activities. Teams and key stakeholders now have full visibility into all aspects of an initiative including a high-level plan with the ability to drill down to see the progress for thousands of tasks. Filters can be used by individuals to see exactly what activities they are responsible for, what changes are on track, where there are issues, and more. 

Cutover also has automated features built into its platform that eliminate many manual administrative tasks, such as requesting updates, setting up calls, and compiling status reports. This frees up people to focus on high-value activities. Has someone missed a due date or forgotten to approve a change?  You can set automated notifications in Cutover to alert teams using your preferred method—email, SMS, Slack, etc.— when human interaction is needed in a runbook.

With all that data integrated into one platform, teams have a real-time “version of the truth”, showing every aspect of a project as it develops across applications, platforms, geographies, and people, enabling them to more quickly identify and eliminate potential risks. This includes data on who is actively using the platform, what and how many projects they are assigned to, and the status of their activities across all projects. Insights that managers can use to quickly arrange resources to improve outcomes.

Ready to consolidate your tools and bring automation and powerful workflows to your projects? Schedule a demo of Cutover’s Work Orchestration and Observability Platform.

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