A new world of virtual operations:
simplifying, standardising, and transforming the work of professional services
AUA Annual Conference 2021 Exhibitor Blog
Ron Yanosky | EAB
COVID-19 has transformed higher education into a virtualised industry. While online learning is the most conspicuous part of this new reality, the shift from campus-bound to remote professional services operations is a quieter but equally noteworthy achievement. Our workforce has remained flexible in adopting new modes of work. But these crisis conditions shouldn’t obscure the fact that higher education’s work practices remain highly traditional. Leaders have a lot to learn about how to translate our legacy work regime into a virtual environment.
To help institutions understand how they can successfully realise the benefits of a virtualised professional services workforce, we at EAB have been exploring remote work policies and practices both inside and outside the higher education sector. Join our AUA session, ‘Untethering the Administrative Workforce: Preparing the Campus and the Workforce for a New Era of Flexibility,’ scheduled for 13:05 on Monday, 29 March, where we’ll share case studies and implementable tools to further explore the benefits of expanding higher education’s remote work opportunities post-pandemic.
One major opportunity for a post-pandemic remote environment is in improving and virtualising processes and workflows. The dispersion of staff has forced institutions to recognise what process improvement advocates have long known: digitised processes can be much faster and smoother than manual ones. Among the overdue reforms are the replacement of physical signatures with digital ones, digitising of paper forms, and increased uptake of conferencing and messaging tools. But digitisation alone is not the answer, as virtualising a bad process just hardwires the inefficiencies that were there all along.
Not surprisingly, then, institutions have been returning to time-tested process improvement tactics as they look to redesign their workflows with a virtual operating environment in mind. EAB has long advocated a simple, jargon-free approach to process improvement. Below, I describe five critical steps that organisations must take as part of their process improvement journey. You can also download our infographic on the topic to learn more.
1. Assemble the right people
2. Map the current state
3. Collect current-state data
4. Design the future state
5. Develop an implementation plan
Ultimately, process improvement and virtualisation are just a few of the many opportunities for greater efficiency now within reach for the sector. COVID-19 has set the stage for a radical reappraisal of how we mix on- and off-campus work. Leaders need to exploit remote work for what it is—a unique, previously untapped asset that can help us with the financial and strategic challenges that await even after the pandemic is over. Come to our session to learn more.
EAB is kindly sponsoring the AUA Annual Conference 2021.
At EAB, our mission is to make education smarter and our communities stronger. We harness the power of more than 1,700 institutions to uncover and apply proven practices and transformative insights. From kindergarten to college and beyond, EAB partners with education leaders to accelerate progress and drive results in three key areas: enrolment, student success and institutional strategy.
You can find more information about the organisation on the EAB website.