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Viewpoint from Prof Rozi – COVID 19, Productivity and BEAN

I am writing this in the middle of a lockdown due to the COVID 19 outbreak. Despite having to stay at home to observe this social distancing initiative, I would like to document how InQKA is responding to this challenge. From 18th March 2020, Malaysia began to follow a movement restriction order referred to as Movement Control Order (MCO). Classes halted and students were sent back to their homeland. That was allowed after a new policy was passed at one of the special Executive Council Meeting held on 20th March 2020. Under this provision, a revised academic calendar for the current semester got validated. Well done to the Academic Affairs Department UiTM for a great team effort. The academic calendar was later deliberated and finalized during an extraordinary Senate meeting with all the deans and campus rectors present using an online platform via Google Hang meet. I foresee this kind of communication as one of many blessings stemming out from this MCO. The interesting fact is that under the current uncertain circumstances, we could still see and work out some solutions together to brave these unknowing challenges.

 

Meanwhile, in InQKA, I did not keep things low, but we started our online meeting with the whole department, this happened on 26th March via Zoom. We managed to discuss and approve many outstanding issues. Above all, we decided that if the MCO gets extended, we would embrace the ‘Work from Home’ initiative.  I advised all our staff to evaluate their capability, capacity and level of motivation.  Meantime back at the council level, another policy was being passed: ‘Work from Home’ guideline which was initiated by the office of Registrar.

 

The 14th day passed, and yes, rightly as anticipated, the government of Malaysia announced that the MCO period will be extended to the second 14-day phase, from 1st April 2020 to 14th April 2020. As I finalise this piece, we are into the fourth 14-day phase of MCO. InQKA had earlier deliberated many possible scenarios, so starting 1st April, all InqKA staff were required to punch in via Clockify by 7:30 in the morning. In this cloud-based application, I had created a cloud-based InQKA Workspace. There, each one of us registered our assigned task, including me. For example, writing this note was logged in as ‘Semak Penulisan InQKA’, and the start button was clicked at 8:06 am. Once done, I stopped, then I took a break for my breakfast, then when I continued, I clocked in as another piece of work. We did this until we reached a total of six hours and 30 minutes a day. I consider this as the productive total working hours in a day. For those who want to retain clocking in more hours, that was fine. In total, we could see the total hours worked, and by looking at the result, we now have an overall productivity measure. So at least we just bumped into this great app that could help us measure and aggregate our Total Productivity in a week.

 

So here is another of our BEAN interventions, like what I had declared last month, BEAN interventions were made famous by the Harvard Business Review (HBR), and now we at InQKA UiTM  are practicing it. Last month I wrote, “…a Behavioral Enhancement, Artifacts, and Nudges (BEAN) approach to improve our work productivity whereby;

  1. i) we set our work schedules that comprise of programmes and activities for the whole year right at the onset of the new year. Hundred and twenty programmes and activities were planned and put up in InQKA’s online calendar and also table calendar for easy reference. The diary was set for the whole year to help our internal and external stakeholders plan their work schedules and goals they would like to achieve in a day, week or month, and it keeps people on track in accomplishing the goals.”

 

Now, with this lockdown, we came up with another BEAN to spruce up our earlier one and to make sure things get done as planned even though we have to change the method of delivery.

Rightly so, on the 8th and 9th of April, we had successfully organized our debut WebWorkshop via Webex on Writing and Reviewing manuscripts. A total of 12 academics registered, and we had our four esteemed resident professors to assist in delivering the online training and coaching the participants individually on how to improve their manuscripts all from the comfort of their home. Each participant received a certificate acknowledging their involvement in the 2-day session.

 

To summarize, the BEAN used followed a mental model approach as follows: To change the delivery platform, the first thing to do is 1) Embrace Challenge, 2) Review Strengths 3) Scan Opportunities 4). Decide on Action 5) Train/ Small Scale/ Test for a 2-person model, 6) Prepare for Real 7). Invitation/ Brochure/ Technical Support, 8) Simulate Hands-on with Trainer/ full-test on Technology, 9) Invite participants (tickets), 10) Go live, 11) Four Roles Identity: techy partner-participants-trainer-observer, and finally 12) Report.

 

I hope this sharing can benefit more people, both within and outside InQKA and help us stay sane, productive and remain motivated.

 

#Pray4All

23rd April 2020