In the past among the management team there were a number of discussions on whether working from home should be allowed, what should be the criteria, and how many days a month it should be allowed. There were varied views; some advocating flexibility others suggesting a policy of no working from home. We never reached a consensus and the policy remained flexible and nebulous.
Come March 2020 …………….
A pandemic strikes and we are clearly unprepared for it; life and business is suddenly disrupted in unprecedented ways. The government of India declared a complete lockdown. Lo and behold no one has a choice, stayed locked up at home is the request, suggestion and dictate. Working from home is the only option and way to keep the business going and customers supported. It’s turning out that, it may be just the right thing and helping us accelerate product development, learning goals and know and see family members of colleagues during video calls.
What are we doing to stay connected and keep track?
- Have a daily team catch-up with mandatory video using Zoom
- Use tracking, CRM and collaboration tools like Trello
- Accessing all important documents like contracts, invoices, reports from our central repository and document management system EisenVault
- Having a brief check in the afternoon just to know if anyone need assistance from anyone on the team
- Speak to team members over video calls instead of voice calls
We will continue to do this until the lock down is eased and possibly beyond as I think this could be the new normal. The way we work and the way we live could possibly change for ever post this pandemic. We will learn new ways of working, new business models will evolve, new solutions will be created, and these will change forever how we look at work and business.
The ways I mentioned do help but this has and may never be able to replace fully the value and emotions of a face to face and in person interaction of a team. Done repeatedly over time it will get boring and drab. In three days, signs of that are beginning to show. We have started thinking of was to make working from home fun and exciting. Keep the camaraderie among the team and help each other learn cross functional skills.
- Adding some fun and variation to the team calls. A call which everyone joins with a head gear, and funniest ones gets a gift voucher and get your kids or family members on the call(usually unavoidable😊), and many more variations planned
- Creating learning opportunities by creating cross functionals to do projects outside their job function. A sales person working a coding project, a software developer on a marketing project
It’s early and possibly impossible to predict when the end of the pandemic will be or how people or businesses will come out at the end. However, I can surely say with certainty that the end it will and leave an indelible impact on our lives, how we live and how we work and things may never be the same again.