The right technology for better communication
We have always taken advantage of Microsoft Office 365’s collaboration tools and incorporated them into the way we work.
Finding the balance
Many colleagues reported time saved from long commutes in bad traffic as an unexpected upside leading to improved work-life balance and time gained back at the end of the day. This, of course, in addition to cost savings on transport.
Some of our teams already work from home or at remote customer locations - so they reported business as usual. However, it was essential for us to obtain feedback from those that usually work from our offices in Manchester or Utrecht.
Some lessons we learned
- Finding the right space at home - some colleagues did not have a predetermined office space or a room to work from which is a consideration for home working over an extended period. Finding a convenient and professional working space proved to be one of the essential challenges faced by a few of our team members over these two days.
- Overcoming connectivity and equipment challenges - one team member had issues with bandwidth - overcome by switching off the camera on video calls. We also had a few issues with wireless headsets - corrected by reverting to standard microphone and speakers. Additionally, some colleagues reported that not having access to a second large monitor is a challenge - especially those in our finance team (they do love their large spreadsheets!). This is something we could facilitate if required to improve the home working experience across multiple job roles.
- Recruiting - while Office 365 facilitates video conferencing for interviews, we could encounter some challenges in the long term for hiring and onboarding new employees.
- Creating new opportunities for social interaction - one colleague reported feeling isolated and lonely. To avoid this, we can set-up more frequent team calls to facilitate even greater collaboration and more interaction from managers in the long term. However, on the other hand - many more employees reported increased productivity by being away from the office.
We were able to identify a few “niggles” with home set-up, desk-space, hardware and connectivity. All of them could be rectified and improved at minimal cost and none of them prevented continued collaboration or productivity.
Our top tips for home working
- Find a dedicated room or create a comfortable space to call “work” with adequate lighting, power, desk and chair.
- Be aware of your immediate surroundings if engaging with external partners and clients - especially what is on the wall behind you and finding appropriate lighting.
- Take advantage of any secondary monitors and web-cams you have available to improve the experience for yourself and colleagues on video calls.
- Be disciplined and take regular breaks - especially when sat for long periods on your own. Staying active is important for home workers.
- Find opportunities to collaborate - when everyone’s remote, it’s important to ensure that we continue working together. Sharing our work and feedback enables us to produce better results and learn together as a team
- Take advantage of the amazing video technology available - with Office 365’s powerful productivity tools, it’s easier than ever to stay communicate better. Use Teams collaboration with Planner, SharePoints or Task to stay connected to your team and having the update of each tasks that assigned.