The last few weeks have seen a seismic shift in how many organisations function. The simple necessity that staff members keep their distance in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated the transition to a situation where working from home is considered the ‘new normal’. But while some might see this a temporary situation, forward-thinking organisations can use the next few months to learn as much as possible in order to facilitate the transition to a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) mindset.
What exactly is MaaS?
MaaS is the idea that transportation solutions need to shift to an on-demand service. It acknowledges that current transport infrastructure is not cut out to handle the rapid growth in population that cities are expected to see over the next 20-30 years. MaaS aims to provide a range of flexible transportation options that can be tailored to each individual’s journey. But re-evaluating your transportation options only gets you halfway to achieving a MaaS mindset.
The second half is recognising that not all meetings need to be face-to-face. If the meeting can successfully take place in an online environment, then it should be considered as a viable option. This has a number of benefits, including:
Reducing the pressure on road infrastructure
Lowering fleet operating costs such as wear and tear on vehicles, fuel, and ongoing maintenance
Improving staff productivity because travel times are eliminated
Helping staff be mindful about other ways they can reduce their t ravel requirements
However, in shifting your organisation to a MaaS mindset, it is also important not to overly restrict the use of fleet resources if a meeting requires a personal touch. For example, if your staff are meeting a potential customer for the first time, then a face-to-face meeting is going to be preferable. It’s all about being aware of the alternatives, and whether an online meeting or simply a phone call will suffice.
How COVID-19 is a MaaS learning opportunity
So how can the COVID-19 lockdown be leveraged as a learning opportunity? There are a number of ways that will enable, educate, and train your staff to support the shift to a mobility mindset.
For many organisations, having their staff work remotely is a new experience. The exciting part about online meetings is that there aren’t any hard and fast rules. You can take the time to experiment with different platforms and technologies. Microsoft Teams and Zoom are two popular options for facilitating online meetings, but depending on your organisation’s needs you might opt for a platform that offers different functionality. At the end of the day, the application has to facilitate what you’re trying to achieve in your meeting.
Accept that it won’t always work
The art of experimentation is testing ideas and refocusing when things don’t work. An important part of the process will be recognising that a particular approach isn’t working. If certain interactions aren’t successful online, or a particular application doesn’t fit the bill, consider it a part of the learning process and shift to other ways to that could work.
Frame online meetings around MaaS
It’s important to emphasise to your staff that transitioning to online meetings isn’t just as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions. Use your internal communication channels to explain that this is the perfect opportunity to reduce demand on your fleet. By framing the shift to online around the need for staff to explore alternatives to face-to-face meetings, you set the expectation that this is going to be an integral part of the organisation in the future.
Lead by example
Take this opportunity to show your staff how online meetings can work. By taking the initiative and demonstrating that online meetings are a viable alternative to face-to-face meetings, you help to set the future direction of the organisation. For example, you can schedule a regular Covid-19 check-in for your team, department, or organisation. If the organisation’s leaders are embracing online meetings, then that will help mould the organisation’s meeting culture.
Prepare for when the pandemic finishes
There’s a good chance that at the moment you’re not having to spend as much time managing your fleet. Now is the perfect opportunity to start setting up and implementing new technologies. That way, everything is 100% ready to go once your staff and fleet are back to normal operations.
Use this opportunity to invest in your future fleet. This could include setting up a pool booking system, installing key management practices, or integrating MaaS services into your fleet so staff can book and use MaaS transportation services as part of your fleet profile.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic lifts
Once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, it will be tempting to go back to the way things were before; using your fleet of vehicles to facilitate every staff trip. However, it is important that at this point staff don’t slip back into the old status quo. If you’ve been successful in using the COVID-19 lockdown to experiment, you will have come out the other side with a clear understanding of what will and won’t work for your organisation.
At this point, you should sit down and set some policies and guidelines that document how online meetings can be used. By doing this, you provide a clear framework that staff can use in the future. You also reinforce that online meetings are an additional tool to use when it’s appropriate. This mobility mindset will help to reduce the pressure your fleet. It will also start you on the journey to a Mobility as a Service transport solution.