If you’ve been reading our updates you’ll know we packed up our workstations, saluted one another from a safe distance and officially went remote on 16/03. And we really haven’t missed a beat with our clients.
But going from a highly-interactive, collaborative creative studio environment to suddenly hanging at home in front of screens hasn’t been all smiles. Sure – the fridge is closer (blessing and curse), we can personally guard our own caches of toilet paper and pants are optional. But when you’re accustomed to churning out your best work in a certain environment, a big shift is not always easy. And we’re not alone. The exodus from the office has begun with even big-four consulting firm EY requiring from all staff work from home. As of this writing, the Australian government has yet to ban office workers from coming in and many organisations are hanging on to their office staff whether for lack of infrastructure or lack of trust.
No matter where your own company stands on office work for the moment, the most likely scenario is that we’re all going to have to make the transition soon. And that means being ready to effectively communicate, manage your staff and continue to produce remotely; all whilst keeping madness at bay and remembering to change your tee shirt.
Start figuring out your plan for when things normalise
This crisis will pass and whilst it’s likely we may have to vary the severity of restrictions from time to time, things will change and improve. So now that we’ve all become accustomed to working remotely – do we pile back into the office straight away? Or are there lessons we’ve learned that can make us more efficient and cost-effective?
For leaders, look carefully at your figures regarding costs to get a staff member remote, service subscriptions, additional seats for key programs, IT fees or salaries as well as overheads like rent, utilities and office gear. Then weigh up where you’ve struggled and where you’ve gained from an HR perspective. Are there some takeaways from this experience that have made you think differently about remote work? And is this sustainable for your organisation or at least part of it?
For staff, has this experience been beneficial to you? With kids back in school, could the home office be a more productive centre of your working life? Is flexibility and remote work a good value proposition for you? Maybe the experience will make you consider moving to another company that offers remote work as part of a package or back you in petitioning your employer for a more flexible arrangement.
For so many of us, we’ve been shot quickly into the future of work and we’ll need to rethink how our work life looks. The next couple months will be great to experiment and see what works for your organisation and your people. If remote work turns out to be the future for your office, you have an opportunity to iron out the kinks and get clear on exactly how you’d like that to look. So, embrace the space and let’s get to work.