Regulatory Managers Increase Flexibility without Losing Productivity

September 19, 2022 ViSU

The past two years have shown that teams desire greater flexibility and they’re willing to change jobs to get it. Flexibility has tremendous benefits for teams, including reduced burnout and greater job satisfaction. However, it can also result in spiraling coordination costs for regulatory managers, untenable amounts of wasted effort, and the inability to respond quickly to internal/external client requests. It can take days to get most members in the same virtual place at the same time.

To increase flexibility on their teams, regulatory managers need guidance, tools and support otherwise, they could burn out on the job or check out to find a new one. Here are 3 ways managers can offer their teams flexibility without breaking under the coordination costs or significantly stalling progress.

Rethink When your Team Work Together

For complex tasks that require teamwork, it’s not feasible to provide your teams with complete flexibility (i.e., the ability to work for any duration at any time). However, returning to the standard in-office work week won’t work either. Thus, managers will need to think differently and deeply about project requirements and schedule accordingly.

For project-based workflows, managers should carefully chart out the project tasks and timeline and issue an advance request for employees to block a specific set of days for overlapping work during key project phases. Leverage tools and technology to make this process more efficient.

Rethink Information Sharing

When team were co-located and working roughly similar hours, it was easier to keep everyone on the same page with meetings and learn about important issues by walkingaround. Giving or receiving an important update only required a few steps (or perhaps a brief elevator ride).

Long waits for status updates or answers to questions can kill productivity. Thus, information availability is critical for flexible workplaces. There are good tools (be it RIM or RPMregulatory Process Management system or Automation) to facilitate asynchronous work. However, teams must actually use and update them in real time. For example, posting a completed document or global registration update or HA approval to a shared repository after few weeks of work won’t cut it. As members may not be available for hours or even days, having access to in-progress work is of paramount importance. Cloud based tools that manage documents and data make these easy.

Revisit What your Teams Are Working On

Combining and expanding on the previous two steps, regulatory managers must think more deeply than ever about the structure of their employees’ tasks and priorities. Map out each part of the task and how they’re connected to one another to determine when scheduling bursts will be needed and when you can assign discrete pieces of the project to smaller subgroups. Record and update all of this information in a shared system (like a RIM or RPM system).

Understanding the connections between different tasks is especially crucial for setting priorities to avoid bottlenecks. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Frequently and clearly communicating priorities (with help of available tools) will help ensure that your teams’ time and efforts are well spent, no matter when or where they’re working.

If regulatory teams want the benefits of flexibility, they’ll also need to shoulder some of the responsibility that goes with it, like autonomous problem-solving and providing and checking for updates in systems. Regulatory Managers are still responsible for making sure everyone is rowing to the correct location in the same direction even if they’re rowing at different times. Utilize tools like ViSU to help accomplish the global norm (or remote, flexibility, etc) that Covid set for all companies and Regulatory function is no exception.