Working with consultants

Working with Third-Party Consultants in the Age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense havoc in a short time. All of us have been forced to adapt personally and professionally to help combat the virus.

COVID-19 Facility Risks and Constraints

As companies begin opening up and returning to their offices, employee safety is paramount. Every person who enters a company’s facilities could be a vector of transmission for COVID-19. Naturally, you are going to want to limit the number of people in your facilities and space them out according to appropriate social distancing protocols. We are certainly doing that at 1904labs as we reopen.

So given these concerns around limiting the number of people in your facilities, what is the right strategy for how you interact with your third-party consultants? What are ways you can still leverage outside expertise – oftentimes necessary to help you solve various business problems – during this time of COVID-19?

Collaboration with Third Parties Is Changing 

Prior to the pandemic, the typical approach was to make space for them in your facilities, so they could collaborate directly with your teams to understand a particular set of problems and develop solutions to them.

In the age of COVID-19, this type of onsite collaboration increases transmission risk. Your employees might be concerned about interacting with people they don’t know who may come from different cities, etc. Your employees may also be working outside of the office more. Because of this, the traditional way to work with third-party consultants could be risky and no longer feasible. A remote collaboration and delivery approach minimizes overload on your facilities’ ability to handle people safely and not expose your people to additional COVID-19 infection risk.

Choose the Right Consulting Partner

When choosing consulting partners to assist you, ask about their experience collaborating on complex solutions with their clients—and ultimately delivering effective solutions—when working remotely with their clients. As a consulting firm, it takes time and experience to develop effective remote collaboration processes with clients.

Fortunately, 1904labs has gotten a lot of practice at this. We have been collaborating with our clients remotely using our labs model since we were founded. We can help you solve complex problems that you need to solve now without creating additional risks by requiring you to have more people at your facilities.

Consider Changing Your Approach to Staff Augmentation

In addition to moving consulting partners to a remote collaboration model, this is a prime time to reevaluate your staff augmentation approach. Again, adding headcount to your facilities adds risk and burden. During and even after the pandemic, does it make sense to continue to use individual staff augmentation resources, rather than source entire teams of consultants from a single firm? On top of potential risks, using individual staff augmentation resources increases your management load and likely requires those resources to be in the office to onboard them and integrate them into a cohesive team. Again, the more new people in your facilities equates to more risk until COVID-19 is in our rear view mirror.

We’ve been focused on a primarily remote model since we started. If you’re looking for ideas or assistance on how to navigate these changes, please reach out. We’d love to help and share our expertise.

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