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Navigating your Virtual Workplace: Expert Insights from Zack Truemper

Tuesday, May 12, 2020  
Posted by: Dave Anderson
As HCAA Members navigate healthcare’s new normal, we interviewed a few experts on how they’ve overcome business challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s feature highlights Zack Truemper, Head of Client Services at DataPath, where he discusses the importance of teamwork and communication.
During the past couple weeks, what were some of your challenges your organization has faced? How did you and your team overcome those challenges?
We faced several challenges including hardware, software, internet bandwidth, scheduling issues, etc. Switching from an environment where everything is designed to stay connected to one where everything is independent was a challenge. We were fortunate to have an IT team dedicated to making sure that everyone had what they needed to get the job done. We had team members who needed computers, monitors, hotspots and our IT made sure we had everything we needed. 
We also have a support team who is very dedicated to our mission of providing industry-leading client support. The personal relations that we have made with our clients means that we want to be there for them, so hurdles that get in the way of doing that must be overcome. Everyone put in the effort to make sure we could do that.
We started preparing early for what might come. Before working from home was mainstream, we began a rotation where team members would work from home one day a week. This allowed them to get their workspace setup and begin to feel comfortable with the idea long before it was the norm. It also allowed us to tackle connection issues one or two people at a time instead of having an entire department facing challenges. We were able to smooth out communication and workflow issues, as well get everyone familiar with how we would track performance and quality. So when the day came that most everyone began working from home, we were ready without missing a beat.
What are some of the positive things about our new reality? 
Communication has become much better. Now that we are working farther apart, documentation has become the new norm. Emails and chats have replaced the quick office visits and popup hallway meetings. This means less is missed because we forgot about it between the break room and the desk. 
The same is true about productivity. People who had less experience are being forced to stand on their own two feet vs. rely on the person next to them for answers. While mistakes are made, the professional growth and increase in confidence will help them succeed for years to come.
 How are you keeping yourself busy in your time away from work?
A lot of family time, we go on walks and bike rides. Homeschooling is a new challenge, however we are more engaged with what our children are learning than we had ever been. 
Do you have any tips or tricks for creating an ideal home office?
Plenty of sunlight and a comfortable chair! 
What challenges do you see coming up for employees over the next eight weeks? What do you recommend to the members of HCAA as ideas for helping their employees?
Isolation or the feeling of being isolated is difficult to cope with. It is important that we remember that we are a team and a family. Communication outside of work is important. Video chats with coworkers and virtual happy hours can connect us. Remember, we will be back in the office again, and we will be sitting next to that person who makes us laugh or can really be frustrating from time to time. Stay connected with them. 
It is also an opportunity to engage clients and people outside of the office in a new way. They may also be feeling the isolation. Video calls can replace the traditional voice call. This provides an opportunity to get to know the person on the other end, and develop a more personal relationship. That will strengthen the relationship and be better for the partnership. 
What is the flip side of the challenges? Specifically, what are the opportunities you see as an outcome of the pandemic for how the members of HCAA do business, address culture in their organizations, support employees going forward?
Improved communication, confidence in our ability to do the job, and stronger professional relationships are all positive aspects. This is a challenge that none of us have ever faced and coming out of this will only make us better.

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