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How AKA’s Remote Workforce Embraced Unexpected Opportunities During COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many businesses have seen an adverse business impact. Here at AKA Enterprise Solutions, both our team members and company as a whole have seen the pandemic as an opportunity for internal growth and ultimately a new climate in which to expand our business by delivering new services to our customers. Here are a few of the opportunities we’ve leveraged during COVID-19:
Remote Working as an Opportunity
Prior to the pandemic, about 90% of the AKA Enterprise Solutions workforce was already remote. Our team members are adept at turning their homes into offices and collaborate and connect daily with other team members all over the United States. When the pandemic hit, our organization’s day to day work routines saw little to no disruption.
AKA is known for our remote capabilities and has always provided our team members with resources to support and extend our remote corporate culture. We realize that while employees may be physically separated, it is critical to bring co-workers closer together via remote resources, and this is what sets our corporate culture apart from that of other consulting firms. How do we do this?
- Career Coaches for Professional Development: Career coaches are available to our team members and we encourage regular meetings for employees to establish professional goals and track progress toward those goals.
- Transparency from Leadership: Once a month, a company-wide meeting is hosted by senior leaders at AKA to deliver general announcements and share company updates and upcoming events
- Regular Team Meetings: AKA’s internal “pod” team leaders host virtual meetings for their respective groups to foster our corporate culture on a team level. These team meetings include a review of internal topics and skills. On a more informal level, Lunch & Learns bring technical and functional teams together virtually.
- Professional Growth During COVID-19: AKA felt it was important than ever for employees to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire a new skill, achieve a new technical certification, or author a blog.
Battling Business Impact with Innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically pivoted the priorities of businesses to solving problems brought on by the pandemic and preparing for any disruptions. Building change into our culture’s DNA in light of COVID-19 will now help us succeed in the future. Just as importantly, we have used our innovative expertise and improvement opportunities to battle any negative business impact due the pandemic with new service offerings and more. How, you may ask?
At AKA, we shifted to 100% virtual project completion–from kick-off to launch. What we once delivered on-site with our clients had to quickly become exclusively virtual: training and user acceptance-led testing. Virtual webinars were also critical. The successful execution of completely virtual projects has created a new and desirable option for our clients—both now and in the future.
One important change we were able to achieve was the review and redesign of our service offerings that will have impact after the COVID-19 pandemic passes—specifically, our accelerator for Public Health Outbreak Tracking and Monitoring. Our ability to be flexible enabled us to quickly respond to new client needs—stemming from COVID-19–with new services and offerings. Both old and new clients found themselves in need of an immediate remote workforce solution and AKA was able to deliver.
With some projects placed on hold during the pandemic, AKA was also able to devote time to outside innovation—specifically a Microsoft challenge to develop a solution to help companies reopen and bring their employees (and visitors) back safely. We are happy to say this solution will launch publicly soon, so keep an eye out for that announcement! Thanks to COVID-19, we found opportunities to positively impact those within and outside of our organization.
Making time for ourselves and each other
We realized that with remote working and trying to maintain business continuity, there were still major shifts happening in people’s daily lives outside of work. We decided to come up with some creative ways to uphold our culture including weekly, virtual one-on-one sessions to stay in touch and maintain good spirits. We also instituted virtual “happy hours” for employees to enjoy casual conversation and team-building activities—not to mention the chance to unwind after a long day of work. Unexpected downtime during the pandemic meant employees were encouraged to participate in new trainings, online learning, and to also take time for individual growth.
Combining fun and productivity
COVID-19 brought us closer in ways that we had not considered. Isolation fostered new ways of creative thinking and fast-tracked the pace at which we make key decisions. We (Alexis and Lana) took our regular weekly meetings during quarantine and in addition to reviewing internal topics, discussed opportunities to come up with ideas for morale building events and activities. One such activity is the “Step Challenge” that promotes walking (getting physically active is so important!) in a fun and competitive way. During this time of stress, AKA’s strong company culture offered more than just a place to cultivate one’s professional side.
Join the Team
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed numerous weak spots in how businesses and people prepare for and respond to such events. But, with the right culture and mindset already in place, these weak spots are really opportunities for new solutions and innovations.
At AKA, we are a tight group that cares about each team member’s well-being. During COVID-19, we kept the momentum going forward with teamwork and new ideas and solutions and we can now take these lessons and carry them with us into the future—for the benefit of both our company and our clients.
If our culture sounds like a good fit for you and you’re interested in joining our team, check out the AKA Careers page for career opportunities or reach out to us with your resume!
ABOUT AKA ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS
AKA specializes in making it easier to do business, simplifying processes and reducing risks. With agility, expertise, and original industry solutions, we embrace projects other technology firms avoid—regardless of their complexity. As a true strategic partner, we help organizations slay the dragons that are keeping them from innovating their way to greatness. Call us at 212-502-3900!
Article by: Alexis Bertrand and Lana La | 212-502-3900
Alexis Bertrand is a Senior Functional Consultant, and Lana La is an Associate Functional Consultant with AKA’s Dynamics CE (CRM) practice.