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Prepare for take-off: Optimising the passenger journey

Delays can cause a host of issues for airports, increasing the risk of both reputational and commercial damage. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is now adding further considerations. Delays are not only an inconvenience for travellers, but could also potentially create health and safety risks, making efficiency a more important issue than ever before.

As such, careful consideration of passengers’ routes to and from the airport has become essential in ensuring that the experience is as smooth as possible. With this in mind, technology has become a vital tool for reducing passenger tensions, should anything go awry.

Using your website

While commonly overlooked, websites are a basic requirement for many businesses. They are often the first touchpoint for customers seeking information. Data collected from an airport website can provide airlines with the opportunity to customise the experiences they offer. For instance, offering discounts on executive lounges to passengers known to be arriving early, or updating travellers arriving by car of parking space availability.

Passenger journeys to your airport

It’s also vital to have an awareness of any factors that could impact the passenger journey, including:

  • Transport issues
  • Local infrastructure works
  • Seasonal changes
  • National holidays

Having an awareness of and communicating these potential disruptions with passengers as soon as possible can help to mitigate against any potential impact on travellers’ journeys and ensure expectations are managed.

Digital wayfinding is vital

Before the pandemic, a number of airports across the world were beginning to be considered destinations in themselves. Increasingly they were taking a much more customer-centric approach. Technology such as digital wayfinding, which allows passengers to navigate the terminal and access services, was being embraced. This has enabled passengers to make the most of their free time before flying.

However, over the last few months digital wayfinding technology has been given a new purpose – with clear signage around airports becoming essential to managing passenger flow around terminals and ensuring social distancing.

It is not always easy to balance these elements, however, by encouraging successful collaboration with stakeholders and partners and prioritising customer experience, airports can optimise the entire passenger experience while ensuring that it remains as safe as possible.

For more information on how to optimise the passenger journey, please contact Matthew Garett.

COVID-19 series: making the most of positive change in local government

The outbreak of COVID-19 prompted local authorities to make major organisational changes quickly. However, much of this transformation has been positive, resulting in modernised processes and offering employees a new level of flexibility. As such, it is important that the sector builds on the changes that have been made by adopting an attitude of continuous improvement.

Going digital

The rollout of digital processes has been a key focus of transformation in recent months. Without technologies such as the Cloud, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for employees to successfully carry out their roles remotely.

Many local authorities were still following more traditional ways of working before the pandemic. Consequently, this digital shift has led to a cultural rethink.

Reassessing processes

Face-to-face meetings have always been a core part of the way local authorities function, but during the pandemic this has had to change.

The need to engage differently with communities has allowed traditional processes to be improved. There are a host of services, such as birth and death registrations, that can be effectively delivered online. In fact, a digital approach to daily business has the potential to increase productivity and efficiency.

Staying flexible

Remote working has been proven to be viable for the long-term. With the right technology, employees can work just as effectively as if they were in the office. Flexibility can also improve work-life balance, by allowing employees to work at times that suit them.

Continuous improvement

Now that we are entering the ‘new normal’, it is time for local authorities to assess the systems they introduced at the start of lockdown. Although they may have provided a temporary solution, these technologies might not fit with the organisation’s long-term strategy. Change management and transformation experts can help to identify areas for improvement and suggest alternative options.

Employees must also be involved in this transformation process to ensure new systems work for them, whether through questionnaires or regular meetings.

Local authorities must embrace this new agile and digital world, continuing to implement modern systems and processes that can benefit both local communities and employees.

For further guidance, contact us here.

COVID-19 series: achieving a positive post-coronavirus culture

The COVID-19 pandemic led to many organisations having to transform their ways of working. However, as we approach a ‘new normal’ in working practices, companies should take the opportunity to re-evaluate their processes and ensure that company culture remains a priority.  So, how can business leaders use the lessons learned during lockdown to keep employees happy and optimise the company’s commercial performance?

Embrace the benefits of flexible working

The benefits of remote working, specifically the lack of a commute and the opportunity to work flexibly, have allowed many people to develop a better work-life balance. Home working has also proved that employees do not need to be in the office five days a week to fulfil their roles – although some may wish to be! Moving forward, business leaders should take account of the views and opinions of their workforce before making any permanent changes to working practices.

Understand individual needs

It is important for companies to recognise that the changes experienced during lockdown won’t have been positive for everyone. Worries around furlough leave, job security and the need to balance childcare and home schooling will have been on many people’s minds. Therefore, it is important to remember that every employee is different. Subsequently change will impact them in unique ways. By considering employee feedback and keeping them involved in changes, business leaders can guarantee a smoother transition to the ‘new normal’ and a happier workforce.

Prioritise communication

Clear communication with employees is always vital, but especially during times of change. Open and honest dialogue will ensure that the workforce feels included and is more likely to get on board with improvements. By taking charge of  messaging at the very beginning of the change, giving regular updates and offering individuals the opportunity to ask questions,  business leaders can remain in control and ensure that communication is clear and consistent. 

By focusing on what’s worked well so far, the needs of employees and open communication, business leaders can succeed in creating a positive work culture that lasts long into the future.  

For more information on how you can maximise change, please contact the team here.

COVID-19 series: our top tips for successful remote working

Many companies had to quickly introduce remote working solutions over the last few months to ensure that employees could continue to work from home. With remote working expected to become increasingly popular as we move into a ‘new normal’, working processes must be designed for the long term.

A people-focused approach

A shift to remote working has made it harder for employers to promote and maintain the wellbeing of their employees. Managers should facilitate regular opportunities for employees to chat face-to-face via video, both on an individual and group basis. This would enable them to gain an understanding of how each employee is coping. However, it should be noted that not everyone will be as comfortable discussing their issues. In such situations an anonymous questionnaire can assess morale while offering individuals the opportunity to provide feedback.

Communication is key

For many managers, this is likely to have been their first experience of managing a team remotely and it can bring about challenges. Clear communication will continue to be crucial in ensuring the entire team not only feel included but also have the opportunity to interact and build connections with the team outside of work. From Zoom and Slack to WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams, virtual communication has never been easier. Managers should encourage their teams to connect through the chosen platforms as much as possible.

Manage expectations

For many, a shift to remote working will present challenges, whether that be juggling working life with home schooling and childcare, or simply adjusting to social distancing practices. Managers should establish realistic and achievable expectations for their team. By clearly defining projects and tasks and focusing on outcomes, individuals are likely to feel more accomplished.

The current situation has proven that organisations can adapt to new realities. By focusing on employee wellbeing, providing the right tools and establishing the right support networks, businesses can ensure that their people remain happy and productive.

For more information on supporting your employees through change, please contact the team here.

COVID-19 series: how to build a more resilient healthcare system

The NHS has been through a period of rapid change over the past few months. Increased demand for healthcare services during COVID-19 forced trusts to urgently step up their capacity and find more efficient ways of working.

However, in order to drive value from existing improvements and build resilience for any future crises, there are a number of steps that trusts should consider taking.

1. Streamline operating models

A key challenge currently facing the NHS is the need to restart routine treatments. By using multi-disciplinary teams and leaner operating models, trusts can speed-up decision-making and the delivery of treatment plans. However, it is vital that this does not come at the expense of the quality of care provided to patients.

2. Manage resources efficiently

To restart routine services without breaking the bank, it’s important that existing resources are used efficiently. Trusts should consider creative ways to build flexibility into existing working arrangements to get services back up and running. For instance, would increasing the number of services working a 7-day week be beneficial to the patients?

3. Encourage collaboration

In order to bolster the NHS ahead of any future crises, trusts should promote a culture of collaboration across different areas of healthcare expertise. By encouraging workers to understand different areas of the organisation, it is possible to reduce NHS services becoming reliant on specific individuals, limiting the chance of services being interrupted.

4. Take care of healthcare workers

Healthcare staff on COVID-19 wards have been under significant pressure in recent months. Consequently this could have a long-term impact on workforce wellbeing. Providing them with the right on-going psychological support and putting robust HR functions in place will be important to ensure wellbeing and productivity do not take a hit in the months ahead.

5. Communication is key

Effective communication with staff and partners is vital if results from organisational changes are to stand the test of time. By focusing on three key messages – why the change is happening, exactly what it means and the expected benefits – the NHS can get the entire organisation on board and make it a success.

For more advice on delivering lasting change within the healthcare sector, contact us here.

COVID-19 series: achieving an agile business

During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working tools and technologies have enabled organisations to maintain continuity and build more resilient businesses. However, to ensure they are able to respond to future challenges, they must plan ahead and consider what technology changes mean for other areas of the organisation. So how can they get this right?

1. Focus on continuous improvement  

There has never been a better time for companies to review their processes and update their business model. During lockdown, employees have become used to a ‘new normal’ in flexible working practices. Consequently it will be important to ensure that further changes in this area are built to last. Over the coming months, organisations should be on the lookout for opportunities to improve the way they operate. By doing so they will be able to mitigate any domino effects of technology investment on their people, processes, systems and infrastructure.

2. Take a step-by-step approach

The uncertain nature of the pandemic situation can make it difficult for companies to develop a long-term strategy. Instead, using business checklists can help to inform decision-making over shorter periods; for example, what are the requirements for bringing staff back into the office and what technology investment is needed as part of this?

3. Put people first

Thorough training around new technology solutions is important to avoid employee productivity levels taking a hit. By being on hand to answer questions about technology changes and provide reassurance, leaders can help employees to better perform their roles. Considering how employee wants and needs have changed during the pandemic will also help leaders to support workforce wellbeing and retain talent.

For more information on achieving agility through technology transformation, please contact Luke Taylor or Tim Powlson here.

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