October 7, 2020 | Documents

What we can learn from professional service teams that managed to perform well during the crisis

As the first wave of CoViD-19 infections took off, many organizations worried about business continuity. While jobs requiring physical presence were hit the hardest, professional service firms expressed concerns whether and how they would be able to work too. Before the crisis, much of their work tended to be done ‘on-site,’ from experts in corporate roles such as HR or finance to consultants working with their clients or university professors giving lectures. Naturally, all this work seemed jeopardized once offices became “no go zones.”
To study this unexpected shift, we talked to a variety of people from different professional service organizations. Initially, many interviewees expressed concerns; some because of missing technical infrastructure, others worried that employees would now be Netflix-ing at home all day. But as the dust settled, an increasing number of respondents—both employees and executives—expressed positive surprise that some things not only worked, but worked better.
So why did some teams not only continue their work, but perform better? And which insights can we draw from their experiences?

Benjamin Mueller, UNIL-HEC Lausanne

Jean-Charles Pillet, UNIL-HEC Lausanne