As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change how business gets done, how can we pivot and not just survive these challenging times, but thrive? Leveraging the technologies that are already being used to facilitate work from home solutions is an important thing businesses can do to grow through the lessons they’ve learned over the last several weeks. Three of the most important takeaways from these times are the importance of virtual collaboration, maintaining coworker morale and connectedness while not in the same space, and staying flexible as the transition back to in-office work grows nearer.
1. Virtual Collaboration can be Done
As millions of workers transitioned to work from home, it was vitally important to use every tool available to maintain the connectedness that comes from working in a shared physical space. So much creativity and collaboration flows from quick, off the cuff interactions in an office; it can feel overwhelming to mimic those moments in a virtual space.
However, as anyone who was already working from home before the pandemic will tell you, there are many excellent digital avenues available to make collaboration from a distance work smoothly. Using tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams for constant contact, and video conferencing tools like Zoom for face-to-face interactions, businesses big and small can continue to work together even when they’re not actually together.
There are hundreds of add-on services that you can apply to all of the solutions above that help foster collaboration. Things like transcription services, whiteboard features, and numerous security and compliance features.
2. Maintaining Employee Morale is Crucial
One of the most immediate issues that arises from a fast shift to remote work environments is trying to help ease the feelings of isolation that can come from suddenly being confined to a home office after years of seeing colleagues everyday. New work from home employees may feel not just physically distant, but also emotionally so. Digital collaboration tools are key to helping alleviate that problem; add in some creativity and you can start to bring back the flare of your physical workspace.
Some offices have even started having “digital happy hours” after work using the tools above, which is a tremendously effective way to maintain a feeling of belonging among coworkers. Other businesses were even more creative, throwing “spirit weeks,” virtual kudos jars, and collaborating on Spotify playlists.
3. Having a Flexible Mindset is Key
This pandemic has revealed an incredible amount of flexibility in the American workforce. However, as restrictions begin to lift, other shifts may be required. In order to accommodate social distancing guidelines once businesses begin to reopen, employers may need to begin bringing workers back in shifts rather than all at once. This will cause a new type of fragmentation, as coworkers are split between rotating in-office shifts.
During these shifts, digital collaboration will continue to be essential. Those in and out of the office can continue to work together via cloud-based servers in addition to all the other digital communication tools they have mastered during their weeks working from home. Cloud-based solutions offer security and accessibility coupled with the flexibility companies rely on when transitioning in and out of work from home, all while allowing for real time collaboration, whether those collaborating are together in person or not.
As we come out on the other side of this pandemic, businesses and their employees will be more agile, connected, and able to weather huge workflow shifts than ever before. These lessons in collaboration and connectedness will continue to serve us long after the current upheaval is over. By learning to lean into digital collaboration, prioritizing employee morale, and being flexible, businesses will have a new set of tools with which to grow into the future.
Have a Plan to Move Forward
Most of the disruption caused to business in the last 45 days was due to a lack of planning. Mentis Group can help you prepare for whatever the new normal brings with it in a disciplined, innovative and professional way. If you have questions about how you can create a plan for the future of your technical infrastructure, reach out to a Mentis Group team member today.