11 Jun 2020

A new normal – working in public sector post COVID-19

Guest blog: Chris Mason, CEO Namos Solutions, on shifting work practices while continuing to support public services - #procuring4growth

Namos Solutions is a London based SME specialising in the implementation and support of Oracle ERP, EPM and HCM business solutions, both in the Cloud and on-premise to a range of corporate and public sector clients. When COVID-19 struck, we took the decision before the official lockdown, to close our main headquarters office in London and immediately implement a work from home strategy. Having set up and run the business I knew exactly what was required to make this change and minimise disruption to both our customers and our workforce. With the excellent support from my leadership team and all staff we were able to put this into practice seamlessly.  

One key advantage was that many of our consultants were living across the UK and many based themselves and worked from home. For our London-based office staff this was going to be something completely new and a major cultural shift for them. It was also important that we worked closely with our clients, both on in-flight projects and those we were supporting to ensure we had the technical infrastructure in place to meet their needs. Many of these customers were already planning and would move to a working from home operation themselves. Many of our customers are in the public sector and higher education and by supporting them, we are maintaining their ability to provide services to the country during this difficult time. Our company ethos of “Big enough to deliver, small enough to care!” had been put to the test and never been more appropriate! 

The other key advantage we had was the technology space we operate in – Cloud! This made the switch as smooth as possible and enables us to continue both to implement current projects, support current installations and work on new opportunities without any noticeable decline in our performance.  Naturally, all project meetings, training sessions and general business meetings both internally and with our clients are now by video calls.   

Of huge satisfaction has been the response from our customers, who not only have been very appreciative but have been greatly impressed by our ability to continue to support them.   

Of equal importance is our ability to support and maintain contact with our staff. They too have responded brilliantly and again without any noticeable decline of standards, professionalism and performance. They have been a credit to the company. It is important to continue to provide social contact with the staff and we have been running virtual gatherings – after work drinks, fundraising events, quizzes and all the other creative things that people have now adopted as part of their daily lives. Being able to spot where people are struggling is also extremely important and we have implemented a wellbeing strategy to spot the early signs of staff struggling to cope. It is so important to make them feel involved and valued by ensuring good internal communications. The work/life balance has taken on a whole new dimension and remote working and greater work flexibility is here to stay! 

Perhaps there was an initial reluctance to embrace remote working but the potential financial and wellbeing advantages are now being realised.  Organisations that can combine both culture and technology and provide the workforce with the tools to embrace this new way of doing things, will thrive in the post-COVID environment.  

With none of us knowing how long this current situation will last, the plans we have in place now are robust and adaptable to ensure we maintain the level of service for our customers now and in the future. Some organisations have been working to a 3-5 year roadmap of moving to the cloud and those organisations have in some cases had to change almost overnight. If ever there was an endorsement for Cloud technology and the right time to have it, then it is now! 

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