COVID-19 has modified, among other things, the performance of internal and external audits of ISO 9001: 2015 quality management systems, or other standards, being necessary to carry them out remotely.
We have already passed and made several of them. It has been a learning and a new experience, for which we have been adapting and improving in each one.
From this experience, some tips have emerged that we want to share.
- Prepare the team, documentation and environment.
It is important that the entire team that will participate in the audit is prepared. Days before the audit it is advisable that the team meet and carry out a small mock audit. To do this, the agenda sent by the auditor can be taken as a basis and go through it, verifying with those responsible at what time the audit day (s) should be connected, the documentation to be presented and the form of presentation through share the screens. We recommend that each one verify on their own, how they position themselves in front of the camera and the environment that will be shown through the camera (note that cluttered rooms make communicators appear cluttered and unprofessional).
In particular we recommend:
- Appoint a general coordinator of the meeting in charge of verifying the general conditions of communication, admit the different participants when appropriate, or eventually call someone in case additional participation is required. It is important to put together an alternative communication method like a WhatsApp group to report these things and not interrupt the meeting.
- The internet connection can be a problem mainly due to the micro cuts, so we recommend having alternatives such as the Wi-Fi router of the cell phone to mitigate these temporary problems. Become familiar with reconnection procedures.
- Keep the microphone always muted, except when some kind of intervention is to be carried out. Remember to reactivate it before speaking. The coordinator of the meeting, if he was in charge of generating the space, has the possibility of silencing any participant or turning off his camera if applicable, making use of this tool if necessary. Camera and microphone wake-up can only be done from individual PCs.
- In the case of screen sharing and making a presentation with PowerPoint or Google Presentations, the camera can be turned off since the receiver would only have to be viewing our screen. There is no need for screen sharing or for the camera to be activated. Turning it off gives us greater bandwidth and improves the quality of communication.
- Concentrate on the camera.
It is important to demonstrate to the auditor that we are at your entire disposal in the approved auditors in Dubai. It is not easy to speak to the camera. Direct eye contact is as critical as it is in person. In a video conference, this means looking at the video camera, not at the faces of the other participants. It is also important to focus on the camera while the auditor or another participant speaks.
If you are not participating and deactivate the camera, a fixed image will appear, confirm it and try to place one that allows us to be correctly identified, if possible that is not the one that appears by default, which is the initial of our name or a photo not according to the situation.
- Maintain a strong voice.
It is advisable to use a voice that is louder than normal because, in addition to being audible, loud voices convey authority, credibility and confidence. Not scream.
Know how to listen before speaking. Many times there are small delays that complicate communication. Speaking at the wrong time is confusing since we can get to answer something else or speak several at the same time.
- Be present and attentive.
In a conventional meeting, participants are often very aware of their presence. But in a remote audit, where surely much of the time we will be with the microphone muted, it is easy to lose the thread and forget that we are being observed. There is also the temptation to answer some mail or WA, or go doing some other parallel work. This is inconvenient; the moment a sudden question arises we have to answer appropriately. It is important to remember that “we are always on camera”. It is good to consider yourself “at work” and “not at home” throughout the duration of the approved auditors in Dubai.
- Avoid distractions.
It is critical not to be distracted or distract the auditor or another audit. It is advisable to remain silent whenever we are not speaking and reactivate the microphone only when speaking. Staying silent silences sudden noises and routine noises that we may not be aware of, such as a dog barking, a wall clock ticking, the keyboard clicking, or even our own breathing. It is also important to make sure to turn the camera off when doing something that is also visually distracting to others, such as moving to another room, tending to children or pets, or eating.
It is recommended to agree with the auditor at the beginning of the audit on the cuts scheduled for the recess. In general, the audits take place from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., so it is advisable to make a first cutoff of 10/15 minutes at 11:00 a.m., lasting 1 hour at 1:00 p.m. for the Lunch and a last cut, if necessary, of 10/15 minutes no later than 3:30 p.m.
6 . Share information.
Thanks to current communication channels such as Google Meet, Zoom or others, to share information with the auditor it is not necessary to send him any type of document by mail, we strongly recommend avoiding sending information by any type of medium. You can use the option “share screen” and thus show him the evidence that he requires. In the event that some type of industrial plant is being audited that requires the auditor to view it, someone from the team must be prepared with the camera to be able to tour the facilities and make the approaches that the approved auditors in Dubai requests.