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.
Zoom’s stock has more than doubled (Tuesday’s minor blip included, see it here) since the onset of the coronavirus in December last year and there’s good reason why. The video conferencing platform is one the most stable, easy to use and simple to integrate with a variety of apps. There’s no associated legacy profile attached (my Skype account has a picture of me in a midriff jacket from seven years ago that I refuse to remove for fear of losing the evidence forever) and it has a better lick of professionalism and tools vs. Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts.
Whatever platform you choose, there’s potentially members of your team you’ll need to upskill and they may struggle depending on their tech-savviness. You’re going to need to practice.
Whilst the over 50s set counts plenty amongst them with great ease in adapting to new environments and tech, it’s important to note that many have never worked from home in their entire careers and even more have never had to rely solely on video conferencing to meet with their colleagues. Alongside the myriad challenges dumped upon us by the virus, we’re at a massive risk of excluding our older colleagues from work-related conversations altogether. And that’s a huge problem.
Not only are our more senior colleagues integral parts of our teams with knowledge, experience and unique perspectives but they’re also statistically very likely to be the key decision makers. And actioning without the ‘ok’ of a decision maker may be acceptable once in awhile but add in the isolation and loss of control quarantine brings and we have the recipe for a major organisational breakdown. It’s crucial to organisational health that everyone on the team can comfortably, easily communicate during this time. Investing time in practicing video conferencing and upskilling colleagues will pay dividends in the long run.