Solving Your Business Problems Isn’t Always Simple
Remote work doesn’t come without its fair share of issues, but with a little creativity and ingenuity, you can help your remote employees overcome them. Let’s examine structured problem solving, a particularly helpful approach to issue resolution that can help your team be more productive throughout the workday.
Structured Problem Solving Explained
When you take a good look at business problems, many of them appear to be large and difficult to approach. This is where structured problem-solving comes into play. This technique can help you break down your large and difficult tasks into smaller and more manageable chunks, allowing you to slowly chip away at the bigger, overarching problem. It sure beats letting it consume you.
One method of structured problem solving that is particularly helpful is called DMAIC, which is short for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. With this approach in mind, you’ll be able to break down complex problems and make them much easier to handle.
How Does DMAIC Work?
Define which process it is that you are experiencing issues with, where your opportunities for improvement lie, and what goals you want to reach.
Measure how well your process is performing.
Analyze the process to identify where the shortcomings are.
Improve upon the shortcomings by resolving what causes them.
Control the newly devised process to ensure performance is maintained.
That’s the long and short of it. If you apply this process for the variables in your complex, difficult problem, you’ll be more likely to find the best way to solve it.
Communication Remains a Remote Work Challenge
Your in-house team and your remote team need to be able to communicate effectively, but this is challenging when there is a very real distance between them. Communication is easy enough in the office thanks to multiple communication tools, but it’s also supported by the fact that people can just talk face-to-face when needed. Remote workers don’t have this option.
If we follow the model outlined above, we can define the problem as a lack of communication shared between employees, with the goal being to improve communications between employees in different locations. We can then measure the frequency of employees communicating both in-house and remote.
The next step is determining which part of the process is not working for your organization. In this case it’s workplace communication, and determining what the root cause of it is will be crucial. Is it the tools used during the process that is holding things up? What about a potential leadership or training issue? You can’t leave any possibility off the table.
Once you have information to work with, you can start solving the problem by slowly making changes that advance your goal. You can try adding new tools to your infrastructure, or providing better training courses for your team. Follow up every so often to find out if the issue has truly been resolved, then adjust accordingly over time.