How The Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Dispatching And Forced Remote Work

When the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the world as we know it changed drastically and rapidly. People were advised to stay home, social distancing was enacted and face to face communication was to be avoided at all costs. 

How The Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Dispatching And Forced Remote Work

Most if not almost all companies had to have their employees working remotely from home. Stocks such as ZM (Zoom) , a video conferencing application, rose from $67 at the beginning of 2020 to almost $600 by the end of the year. It was a clear sign that things are changing within the way the global workforce operates and how we communicate as humans.

Our dispatching agency had no choice but to rapidly adjust and change how we do business if we were to survive. Rapid change was needed to keep up with the already changing global landscape. 

In this article we’re going to go over the positives and negatives that we’ve noticed about remote work, after the pandemic arrived and how we viewed these hurdles as opportunities for growth. 

More Freedom For Dispatchers and Teams

The first and the most obvious advantage/disadvantage is that everybody involved has more freedom. This rings true from management positions, to the entry level dispatcher jobs that we hire for. With no manager or upper management member walking around the office, a worker is free to do whatever they want.

We view this as both a positive and negative effect when it comes to dispatching. 

Realistically speaking, out of an 8 hour work day, most employees do not work 8 hours or even 7 hours non stop. The work day is more like a sprint rather than a marathon. There are short tasks that need to be done immediately, followed by moments where you have a break until a new task needs to be completed. Remote work is great in this regard because once you’ve finished a task and don’t have a new task to complete, you can take care of something else. If you’re working from home, you can wash clothes, make some food, or even catch up on some reading. 

The problem with this is that with great freedom comes great responsibility. Giving a team freedom means that they have to make sure they’re getting their work done. 

One of the ways that we were able to overcome this hurdle and make sure that the added freedom did not impact our business, was to hold a constant team meeting, via Zoom or Google Meet

Each shift started with a video conference where we would say hello to each other and discuss what needed to be done that day. Any issues from the day before would also be discussed. This was the best way that we could replicate our meetings to be like when we had an office.

Holding a video conference also kept dispatchers on their toes. Once the initial briefing call was over, we would leave the video conference running, however now with the video camera shut off and voice muted. If something came up, we’d unmute the camera and dispatchers were expected to respond in a quick and prompt manner. This is how we were able to make sure that all team members were paying attention and that work was being done. 

If an issue would arise and a dispatcher wasn’t behind the computer we would know. 

New Dispatch Employees And Hurdles of Remote Work

Remote work really tests out how self reliant and truly autonomos a team member, and a team can be. Without an office to work in, an employee’s skills and dedication are really put to the test. This also has benefits and negative consequences, it really depends on the team member and their style of work. 

Some employees are naturally good at staying motivated without a manager around them,while others really need that feeling of being watched by someone and being guided on what to do next. 

At Ninja Dispatch we’ve always felt that both styles are ok, however in order to make it work we need great communication to understand what a worker needs. The best style of work that we have is somewhere in the middle, between a self autonomous worker and one that needs some guidance. In order to achieve this our management team had to be top notch. We always hired according to the principle of hiring someone better than you at doing a certain job. 

Micromanagement is a toxic style of work in which all processes need to be overwatched with a careful eye. This is negative because it wastes the manager’s time, the employee never truly learns how to be self reliant and there is added pressure due to careful scrutiny. 

We’ve worked with a handful of clients who’s management style was to micro manage each and every thing that occurred in their business. Needless to say, they didn’t last that long as a company. 

The best way to manage a remote team is to make sure that they are self reliant, autonomous and understand what tasks need to be done. 

We achieved this by taking a macro approach to the management of our dispatchers. Clear and realistic goals are given to team members and if questions arise, they are encouraged to ask. We provide team members with all the tools and resources they need to be successful. 

When hiring and assembling a team, it is OUR responsibility at Ninja Dispatch to make sure that the team members are qualified for the position. We go through a 3 step process in order to find a new team member, including cross interviewing from other team members. If all these processes are respected, and good communication is provided, there should be no reasons that a dispatcher should not be led to a successful career. 

We have had a truly positive experience by applying these principles to hiring a new employee during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Office Environment Builds Company Culture

Coming in everyday to an office, having meetings, high fives on a successful day, these are all things that help build company culture, which is extremely important to any organization. Some may argue that the culture can only be cultivated through coming into a physical office. However, after the pandemic, we think that culture can be cultivated and maintained, better than when meeting in person.

How The Covid-19 Pandemic Affected Dispatching And Forced Remote Work

Company culture is the same as a friendship with a person, you either have it or you don’t, simple as that. A friend doesn’t need to be next to you all the time in order for that friendship to exist. The friendship exists because you both know each other and what your values and goals are.

The same goes for culture within an organization. Workers do not need to be next to you at all times in order to have a positive and thriving culture. The culture exists because you and your management team have put it into place since day one, through how you communicate and pay your workers. 

In fact we would argue that a business that has a thriving culture without the need of a physical office, will be a more successful business than one that requires workers to come into an office each day. A strong team that can operate independently and autonomously is like a Ninja hired to do a difficult mission 😉 

Thriving culture while working remote means that management, employees and the team as a whole are symbiotic. At Ninja Dispatch we pride ourselves and our accomplishments since the pandemic has begun. We have quadrupled our number of dispatchers, promoted team members to management positions and have even begun servicing different sectors and industries with our night dispatch after hours solutions

Please drop us an email or message with what you think about  working remotely and what impact it’s had on your business. We’re open to discussions and even healthy disagreements. 

If your company is searching for a night dispatcher then consider trying Ninja Dispatch for your next hire. Our team creates a long-term customized solution for your company’s needs.

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