Aviation isn’t just a business. It’s part of the network and fabric that holds our world together.
The pandemic has had its say. Unfortunately, airlines have found themselves on the frontlines.
As COVID-19 continues to devastate the global economy, some regions have witnessed up to a 97% decline in aviation activity. According to a report issued by International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline travel which is measured in revenue passenger miles came crashing down by 70.6% in October 2020 in a year-on-year comparison. Apart from the business side of things, airlines have also found it an uphill battle to manage their workforce and restore travelers’ trust.
In the face of these challenges, an overwhelming majority of airlines were left with no choice but to go for a far more optimized redistribution of resources while limiting expenditure. Moreover, they had to adapt their primary operating models to provide stability to their business. One of such measures has been allowing and facilitating ground employees to work remotely. While COVID-19 vaccination programs are being rolled out globally, it’s safe to assume that remote work is here to stay.
As remote work comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in the airline industry, many organizations are searching for agile and versatile digital tools that can help them provide a cohesive and collaborative working environment to their remote employees. KanBo has become one of the go-to choices for businesses owing to its sheer flexibility coupled with rich features.
Remote work with KanBo
Remote Work Initiatives Deployed By Airlines
In order to ensure business continuity during these trying times, a multitude of airlines have implemented a variety of remote work policies allowing employees to work from the comfort of their homes. This has enabled airline companies to deal with the challenge of personnel shortages by catering to the evolving needs and expectations of a pandemic-ridden economy. Some of the major remote work initiatives include the following.
1. Enabling Work from Home for Ground Personnel
To say the least, the pandemic hasn’t been kind to any of us, especially the airlines. The service industry has had to bear major losses apart from losing its primary revenue source – domestic and international travel. The first and foremost challenge for the airlines has been to ensure the health and safety of their essential employees while making necessary accommodations for continuing work when required.
This is why many airline organizations have allowed different types of job continuance models including part-time and job sharing offers, flexible work hours, and most importantly work-from-home facility for ground personnel.
2. Facilitating Remote Work with Provision of Tools
Just allowing your employees to work from home isn’t sufficient to ensure high-performance decision-making and maintaining productivity. The airlines have also undertaken the responsibility of providing necessary tools and benefits to their employees that they need to perform their jobs. For instance, there are some airlines that are now equipping every ground employee with their own personal laptop so they don’t have to invest their personal resources for company work.
This doesn’t only creates an encouraging work environment but also establishes a sense of support that employees need to do their job effectively. Airlines understand that they need to firmly stand behind their workforce in these taxing times if they’re to bounce back from the pandemic-induced recession.
3. Introducing Remote Maintenance & Repair Operations (MRO)
Many airlines are now choosing to adopt remote maintenance as it delivers resource, workforce, and operational efficiencies. While there were a few progressive airlines that were already making the shift towards technology-driven maintenance before the pandemic, the COVID-19 tragedy is now acting as a catalyst for remote maintenance and repair operations paving the way for the future.
- Finding Paperless Alternative – One of the major drawbacks of conventional MRO practices is paper-based processes which cause unnecessary delays and disruption causing a negative impact on labor efficiency. Airlines have now realized that when maintenance strategy, tool scheduling, labor, and other operational aspects are paper-free, it brings efficiency to the entire process of maintenance and repairs.
- Relying On Remote Maintenance Support – With the advent of smart equipment and affordable access to highly reliable software tools, merged or augmented reality is now being used to provide remote maintenance support. This type of procedure allows airlines’ MRO teams to map virtual elements onto the real world to create an interactive environment that can be trusted to deliver maintenance support without their physical presence. Some airlines have taken a step further to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) for smarter and more informed decision-making.
Challenges and Struggles of Remote Work
There is no doubt that airlines are taking all the necessary steps to ensure business and operational continuity but remote work comes with a plethora of struggles and challenges. They aren’t necessarily crippling but require airlines and aviation organizations to be smart about their implementation of remote work. Some of the major challenges include:
1. Context Switching Leads to Inefficiency
Since all the work has to be accomplished relying on digital tools, employees are often forced to use multiple software applications that they have to switch between. This doesn’t only result in loss of time but causes unnecessary distraction as employees find it difficult to focus. Although this issue is prevalent in office-based jobs but work from home has amplified the challenge.
2. Rate of Change & Adjustments Has Become Overwhelming
Many home-based workers are now reporting that since the airlines are still going through the transition phase, they are always searching for ways to optimize their processes. This means that procedures, policies, and operations are changing at a rapid pace which leads to mental fatigue and loss of focus. Some employees say that the changes are being implemented once every two weeks which becomes quite overwhelming even within a period of few short months.
3. Reduced Engagement and Real-Time Collaboration
One of the most critical efficiency contributors that have taken a major hit is real-time collaboration and social engagement between peers. Since there’s nobody around them to turn for assistance, they find it more and more challenging to stay motivated and get the job done. The absence of instant communication and collaboration has also impacted overall productivity and efficiency both on an individual and department level.
4. Information Retention Has Gone Down
Another factor that has a substantial impact on productivity is how effectively employees retain information and knowledge required to complete their tasks. As employees have gone remote, they often struggle to retain relevant information as it is scattered across a multitude of silos created by different software applications. There’s no single source of truth where they can go to in order to retrieve the information they need.
5. Absence of Quick Feedback and Robust Training
Probably the most important upsides of working in an office environment are receiving immediate feedback and adequate training when required. The quantity and quality of both feedback and employee training have taken a hit, particularly in the airline and aviation industry as the C-level management is more focused on big picture decision-making.
UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Align with Modern Aviation Industry’s Remote Work Strategy
Large corporations must consider not just their financial concerns, but also the environment. They are conscientious when it comes to asset usage and the generation of labor and goods. In the face of global warming and environmental change, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs has set goals and benchmarks for large-scale projects to achieve in order to be more comprehensive and long-term. That is why, in order to improve functional performance, each airline or aviation business today must change its goals in accordance with UN targets.
Invest In Resilient Infrastructure to Support Economic Development
The UN’s principal sustainability goal calls on businesses to build high-quality, viable, and adaptable infrastructure. This necessitates the inclusion of transborder and territorial infrastructure in order to accommodate the essential help in terms of economic growth and general prosperity by focusing on impartial and reasonable access in all circumstances.
Increase the Share of Industry Employment Via Inclusive Industrialization
The next goal is to improve the aviation industry’s contribution to providing opportunities while also increasing overall national production by 2030 via sustainable and comprehensive industrialisation. The goals should be aligned with local realities so that developing countries may contribute twice as much.
Expand Small-Scale Industrial And Financial Services Access
To expand access to financial services, the UN requires big scale firms, such as airlines, to collaborate on the entry of small size ventures, especially in developing countries. Reasonable credit must be included, as well as its integration into economic sectors and value chains.
Improve The Efficiency Of Resource Use Via Infrastructure Upgrades
One of the primary UN priorities for multinational businesses is to adapt initiatives and update existing frameworks by 2030 in order to achieve sustainable goals. This is planned to be completed with improved asset utilisation efficiency and the implementation of green initiatives and cycles.
Enhance Scientific Research To Encourage Innovation
Many agricultural countries lack the resources and infrastructure needed to promote scientific research. That is why the United Nations has established a goal for firms to improve their research and development and implement mechanical improvements in contemporary domains by 2030, particularly in underdeveloped countries. This will help to empower development and increase the quantity of creative workers per capita.
How KanBo is Helping Airlines Overcome Remote Work Struggles
KanBo software is an agile and feature-rich all-in-one work and business process management tool that can be morphed and shaped according to the particular airline’s business goals, requirements, and expectations. Instead of providing a rigid and inflexible set of features that force you to adjust your work and processes accordingly, it delivers an assortment of building blocks that can be used in a variety of ways by cross-functional teams to achieve multi-faceted and dynamic objectives.
1. Working Remotely with KanBo
KanBo provides an especially designed set of remote work features that can help airlines overcome their struggles and challenges.
- Real-Time Notifications – Since it’s impossible to align asynchronous productivity cycles of all team members in a remote work environment, real-time notifications provide a path to efficient work-from-home practices as employees can pick up from where they left any time they want. KanBo gathers information of every employee’s actions and frames them into contextual information streams. This means that team members can work regardless of their locations and time zones.
- Control Informational Depth through Streams – KanBo provides project managers and team leaders with granular control over the details they want to display in their stream. From data bits as small as renaming a note to big updates like completion of a certain project, they can choose to present employees with the information they need to see.
- Demonstrate Dependencies with Block-Ups – Delayed decision-making, as well as responses, can have an impact on how others work. With KanBo block-ups, employees can simply mark the work as blocked and provide a reason. They can also mention users who can resolve the matter allowing them to continue their work.
- Gain Insight with User Activity Stream – When hundreds and even thousands of employees are working remotely, the unavailability of someone on any given day is inevitable. In such situations, other team members can rely on the user activity stream to view the complete history of the task they’ve been just assigned and continue their work.
2. Embrace Diversity of Work Styles in KanBo
KanBo has been designed to cater to diverse human preferences and experiences as it allows airlines to support unique cross-generational work styles across its teams and departments ensuring productivity never takes a hit.
- Board Lists – When the number of cards that document work continue to grow, board lists can be used as containers to categorize and organize different types of tasks. Each board list can have a certain name, color, and purpose to provide clarity to all employees.
- Labels – These provide an intuitive way to organize and prioritize different cards providing a unique context. Labels come with customization capabilities allowing managers as well as team members to change names and colors of labels to comply with the structure and purpose of the work.
- Board Collections – When middle managers are looking to establish a high-level structure and align focus for their teams, board collections can be used to merge relevant boards for quick and convenient navigation.
- Board Templates – KanBo’s board templates are ideal for teams that want to achieve excellence in terms of planning and project management through their airline’s accumulated knowledge. Relying on templates, both teams and employees can adapt through organizational learning to enhance efficiency.
3. Integration with Your Airline’s Software Infrastructure
Every modern airline today relies on a technology infrastructure that acts as the backbone of its business. KanBo integrates with a wide range of technology infrastructures to reduce downtime and enhance business productivity.
- KanBo On-Premises – Since airlines often have to comply with regulatory standards and internal policies for security reasons, they want to stay within the comfort of their own on-premises hardware infrastructure and firewall. KanBo on-premises ensures that they don’t have to choose between security and functionality and they get the best of both worlds.
- KanBo Integrated with Office 365 – Regardless of the Microsoft Office 365 plan the airline is using, KanBo provides native integration with both Azure environment and Office 365. It can be integrated as an Azure Active Directory App or a SharePoint App.
- KanBo as Software as a Service (SaaS) – With KanBo’s SaaS functionality, the airline doesn’t need to have a dedicated IT team to make the most of the software. The organization deploying KanBo also gets the option to choose the country where their data will be stored.
How KanBo Helps Aviation Organizations at Every Management & Operational Level
Any organization that’s attempting to redefine remote work requires a digital infrastructure that works at all levels. When the infrastructure is fragmented across teams and departments, it makes it difficult and more challenging to track work and information leading to inefficiency and redundancies. KanBo, with its basic building blocks, helps managers, team leads, executives, and employees in the same way as they can build and optimize their work processes and project plans accordingly. It doesn’t matter if you are an executive or just a part of a team, KanBo offers all the building blocks you need for different types of hierarchical setups.
For C-Level Executives – As Digital Headquarters
For top-level management, the overview of the business and bird’s eye view holds all the importance. KanBo provides them with a digital headquarters they need with quick and convenient access to strategy, tasks, projects, information, knowledge, documentation, internal communication, and organizational community along with integral applications. This means that they can make important decisions on the go without having to hold meetings and video calls every other day.
For Citizen Developers – As a Low Code Platform
When we talk about low code platforms, we refer to a visual approach in terms of software development that allows swift delivery of applications without manual coding. Low code platforms exist to make app development more mainstream, especially for citizen developers who are basically business users with very little professional coding experience. These may include project managers and business analysts. As a low code platform, KanBo enables employees to make a significant impact in a multitude of ways such as getting rid of IT department backlogs, eliminating shadow IT, and taking ownership of business process management (BPM) workstreams.
For Citizen Developers – As a No-Code Platform
No-code development platforms (NCDPs) enable coders and non-coders to create application software through GUIs and configuration features. They don’t use conventional computer programming which can be more complex. No-code development platforms like KanBo are closely related to low-code development platforms as both are designed to make the application development process quicker. These platforms have both increased in popularity as companies deal with the parallel trends of an increasingly mobile workforce and a limited supply of competent software developers.
For Information Workers – As a Work Organization Platform
A process is a procedure that constitutes a sequence of steps that need to be deployed to produce a certain outcome. On the other hand, a project is a temporary course of action that aims to deliver a distinctive product, service, or result. To manage these processes and projects seamlessly, KanBo provides a central hub with all the features required by the employees, managers, and executives.
The airline and aviation industry is still in the process of making a transition to remote work to ensure the health and safety of their employees while maintaining operational continuity. While they have taken multiple steps to ensure that employees are ready to embrace this paradigm shift, the fact cannot be overlooked that remote work comes with a number of challenges including the absence of real-time communication and collaboration, lack of instant feedback, mental fatigue due to quick changes, and many other factors.
KanBo software enables airlines to deploy a single solution through which they can ensure exceptional remote work by facilitating quick communication, real-time collaboration, elimination of silos, informational transparency, and work visibility which provides a substantial competitive advantage.
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