The move to carrying out lab assessments remotely has been sudden, with little time for transition.
However, considering the cost and time savings, carrying out assessments this way could become the new normal.
Maree Stuart, Principal of MAS Management Systems, recently went through this process with one of our clients and shares her experiences.
“With any assessment, there are always a few nerves, but this steps up to a higher level when you add new or unfamiliar technologies to the mix!
Preparation is always critical but in the case of remote assessments, there some other things you’ll need to consider. Here are my five top tips to get through the process as painlessly as possible:
Tip 1: Decide which devices to use
Have the appropriate technology set up for everyone who is normally involved in the assessment activity.
A desktop computer is good if you’re sitting down and sharing documents. However, if you need to move around and show a physical area or process being undertaken, you’ll need a mobile device.
Phones can be used in a pinch although most phone screens are a bit small so a tablet or laptop would be a better option.
Have teams working in pairs – one to do the activity and talk and the other to hold the device.
And of course no matter which devices you’re using – make sure they’re charged!
Keep charging cables on hand just in case they’re required and a back up device if possible.
Tip 2: Practice makes perfect
Schedule a practice run. As well as giving everyone a chance to test the technology they’ll be using, they can get comfortable with what will be happening and how.
Practice screen and document sharing if this is what will occur during the assessment.
Make sure everyone knows where documents are stored so there’s no last-minute scramble to find something.
This practice will relieve some pre-assessment nerves and help staff feel supported.
Fear of the unknown is not your friend!
Tip 3: Stay connected…but not too close!
Internet connection can be a problem, particularly if you’re in a remote or regional area with a patchy connection. There could also be poor connectivity in some parts of your operational areas.
During your practice run, take the opportunity to check this and take steps to alleviate the issue before the day.
Also consider social distancing. If this in place in your lab, think about how you can comply while still allowing the assessor to see everything they need.
Make sure you find a quiet space and minimise background noise. Although everyone will be aware that the assessment is happening, a sign on a closed door during discussions will save distractions and embarrassment!
Tip 4: Say thank you
Everyone likes to be appreciated and your assessor is no exception.
As well as acknowledging that they’re also on a learning journey by doing assessments this way, an email to say thank you will give a good sense of closure.
Tip 5: Seek support
If the thought of going through a remote assessment increases your blood pressure or makes your eye twitch, do consider using the services of a consultant.
As someone who has been on both sides of the audit table, I can pre-empt what the auditor might need to see, understand why they are asking for those things and interpret requests for staff during the audit when they don’t have the other social cues to go off.
There’s no need to go through the process alone!”
If you have an assessment coming up and would like to speak to someone about it, don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential, obligation free discussion.
Download this article 5 Top Tips – how to prepare for remote assessments