Micro Workshare System – Revisiting an Old Innovation Idea in the Context of COVID-19

An old innovation idea proposed on an entirely different context fits very well for handling COVID-19 effect on workload imbalances

Micro Workshare System (MWS) is one of my most favourite ideas in my innovation history and the first one to receive any kind of seed funding in my entire career. It was proposed in the year of 2014 primarily targeting to regulate the workload imbalance resulted due to recession in various geographies, especially for the multinational companies. During the time, it was taken as one of the two base ideas for the most eventful innovation venture in Worley, my previous organization. I guess it would be inappropriate to disclose the details of that idea outside the seed funded organization, so I would rather try to investigate how the concept would apply for resolving the workload imbalance caused by COVID-19.

The core of the concept is to disintegrate the conventional way of work-sharing. I.e. enabling individuals to take over work from remote offices without being part of a dedicated workshare team. Or rather, enabling individuals to accept work from remote teams when there is not enough work available within their locations. Whatever be the scenario, MWS basically investigates the systems and procedures required for enabling individuals to work remotely with distant project teams and that is what makes this idea highly significant at this COVID-19 remote working era. Although the idea was originally targeting the workshare domain, the same principles are equally applicable for the work from home scenario happening in the organizations today.

It is not as easy as it sounds though. There needs to overcome so many barriers to make it possible. When it comes to individuals distributed over multiple geographies, it brings up many complications in areas such as finance, legal, etc. (data protection for example). In summary, it requires a lot of cross-functional department work at corporate level to bring up such a channel alive.

While it true that it takes a lot of effort to establish such an individual based channel, what COVID-19 has recently exposed is the highly pathetic situation of not having such a system in place for many multi-national companies. We saw higher managements struggling to respond to the unexpected situation and compromising drastically on their delivery. It is a harsh reality that there is always an uncertainty bounding us in the form for natural disasters, pandemic, epidemic etc. and we see those things happen more often than ever in the current era. So, it is high time that the organizations bring up these systems to the mainstream so that the work happens normal despite calamities happening at any region around the world.

Interestingly, there seems to have some good progress happening in this area since COVID-19 days. Some companies have already declared that a major share of their workforce would be working from home post COVID-19 days as well. While it would be comparatively an easy task for some industries such as Information Technology to adapt to this changing situation, it would be a real challenge for industries such as Engineering, Construction, Manufacturing etc., to mention a few. For some industries, it may require redefining the work methodologies from scratch for adapting to this challenge.

One thing for sure, we are going to see many Micro Workshare Systems taking over the conventional office work methods in the days to come. The sooner organizations adapt to this changing scenario, the better they would be equipped with handling unforeseen situations. Let us wait and watch how it is going to solve our work challenges in the future.

Stay safe!