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Working from home - the BI tools you need to keep your business bustling
March 18, 2020

Working from home – the BI tools you need to keep your business bustling


Times are changing at lightning speed. The sudden need for the majority of workers to work from home, and enforced quarantine in many countries, is putting considerable strain on technological infrastructure and the workforce. And businesses that were lagging in their digital transformation agenda are feeling this shift the most.


Many companies are not prepared for remote working at the scale that’s abruptly been forced on them! Employees may not have the IT equipment they need to work from home. Desktop users now need webcams. Some residences may not have a reliable internet connection or sufficient bandwidth for handling large files. Remote workers may also need access to a VPN or require additional software licenses. Plus the need for increased security with users connecting from alternative devices or using different software to share files. 


In addition to the technological upheaval, two major concerns for business leaders and managers are business continuity and employee productivity. What can you expect with the majority of the workforce suddenly working from home and how can you mitigate the resultant risks? 


Let’s take a look at some tips for managers and users that can keep the business moving smoothly forward. 


Your staff need a confident, present (even if only virtual), calm leader more than ever before during this unforeseen work-from-home (WFH) period. To keep your data team on the right track, you can support them by: 


  • Communicating regularly. Communication is key. You need to communicate with your team more frequently than you would usually in a face-to-face office environment. This should include your weekly team meetings as well as one-on-one sessions. Use video as much as possible to create a more personal connection. It will help maintain trust among the team.


Also, make sure individual team members all have the same level of access to you. And ensure everyone has equal time and attention in your online meetings. If not, individuals may feel there is favouritism at play. Or whatever else the voices in their head suggest (since working from home can often make you feel isolated and even a bit stir-crazy, especially for the uninitiated). 


  • Trusting your team. A WFH setup cannot be effective if you don’t trust your team will get on with their jobs. You’ve probably worked with them for years and know they produce good quality work at the office. So trust the same will occur when they’re not in the same building as you. Check up on their progress as you’ve always done, but also check more often how they’re doing, if they need any assistance, if they’re running into any issues or if they’re unsure about anything. When they feel you care about their well-being, they’ll inevitably produce at the level you expect and possibly even above that level.


  • Individualising your interactions with your team. Employees all have different personalities and communication needs. Some may require more communication to get the clarity or reassurances they need. Communicate more with those that require additional attention to keep them positive. 


  • Setting clear expectations. In your virtual meetings, you need to make your expectations 100% clear. Employees need to know what’s required of them, to what standard and by when. Then as a follow-up to this interaction, post their priority list in your team communication tool like Slack, Google Hangouts or Zoom, for instance. 

For those new to the WFH concept, it may sound like an extended holiday. Though WFH does come with additional freedoms, it does require more responsibility too. Here are a few tips to prevent you from going stir crazy and to keep up your productivity levels:


  • Set up a dedicated work area. If you have a study or separate room to work from, great. For those that don’t, set up a dedicated work area, even if it’s a corner of the room. And stick to working from that spot rather than working from your bed, for instance! It’ll help to maintain a clear separation of work and home. And contribute greatly to your sanity!


  • Maintain a structured schedule. Set up a WFH schedule, which includes specific break times. And try to stick to the schedule. To keep your productivity levels up, write a daily to-do list. Breaks are also an important part of your schedule and can help you recharge. Go outside for a walk or engage in other exercises if possible. 


  • Communicate more. To keep delivering what’s expected, you should communicate more frequently about what you’re doing. Keep teammates and managers up-to-date on your progress and when you run into roadblocks. Also, to cater to those with a social nature, chat more to other members of the team on your company’s chat programme and try to use video as much as possible, to stay connected. It’s good to see another face to know you’re not alone!


  • Adopt a problem-solving mindset. Effective remote work begins with a problem-solving mindset. Try to anticipate where things might go wrong or be delayed, consider possible solutions and communicate about them.  


  • Work with distractions. If you stay alone, you may have the odd distraction of a cat on your keyboard or food being delivered. But those living in shared accommodation or with family or children at home may encounter more distractions. Advise family and friends of your work hours and when not to disturb you, to minimise distractions. But this may not be as easy if you have young children at home. In this case, try experimenting with working hours, allowing more TV time, or taking turns with child care if there’s another adult in the house. At least they’ll distract you from the unfortunate situation outside!


You don’t need any additional roadblocks to your team’s productivity during this trying period. Leverage user-friendly data analytics solutions to streamline processes, improve user engagement, collaborate effectively and save time. Here are three essential capabilities your analytics software should provide:


1.  Maintaining a high level of control over how your data team operates will ensure productivity levels remain the same. Implementing workflows can help your team follow your company’s processes no matter where they’re working from. Workflows enable better control, reduce the level of uncertainty and improve productivity. These benefits are crucial for teams working remotely. 

Vizlib Collaboration Workflows capability


Discover more on retaining control and streamlining business processes in our blog on implementing workflows in Qlik Sense


2. Keeping in communication and easily sharing insights is possible with the right BI tools. The software should enable smooth collaboration between your team, especially when you’re not under the same roof. It should help you to communicate data insights in context, avoid misunderstandings and streamline insight-to-action conversations.


Keeping your collaboration in Qlik Sense is a great way to collaborate effectively. Vizlib Collaboration enables users to easily add comments to sheets and objects, to share bookmarks, and take instant action, wherever they are located.  


Vizlib Collaboration Comments capability


In a WFH set up, you can also ensure smooth collaboration with the finance team. Stay on top of your financial reporting with integrated comments at a cellular level with the new commentary capability in Vizlib Finance Report.


3. Saving time and maintaining user engagement is another fundamental requirement for team efficacy. Intuitive dashboard design will guide how users navigate visuals and lead them to insights quicker. The familiarity and additional clarity that a user-friendly dashboard provides will improve data users’ confidence and diminish any WFH-related drop in productivity.   


Users can also extract insights quicker when there is additional context in data visualisations. Capabilities, like Vizlib’s HTML Tooltips, enable developers to create customised text and graphic context on hover and empower technical and non-technical users to get the bigger picture of their data! 


Vizlib Heatmap HTML Tooltip capability


Developers can also save time by fast-tracking and simplifying the dashboard creation process. The Vizlib Actions capability makes selections in Qlik Sense quicker and easier and enables you to create and link shortcuts across your app. 


Another way to increase the efficiency of your data pipeline is by creating a guided analytics experience. The Vizlib Button capability leads users to the insights they need with fun, customised buttons and provides user-friendly navigation to generate business value from data.  

Vizlib Button capability


Focussing on the health and well-being of your team in this period of unexpected change is essential. Provide them with the technological and mental support they need to remain optimistic and continue giving their best. Their best will keep your business bustling. 


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