There have been some valuable lessons learnt during lockdown.
Certain changes and adjustments had to be made – but then they turned out to be incredibly positive and many companies have decided to rethink their long term working practices as a result.
For some, this means that the option to work from home will remain in place after the fact. Many workers have found that they have been able to forge a better work life balance from this arrangement, while others have found that life is more simple and less stressful without the headache of a daily commute.
At Office Principles, we have found the best change to be one of the most obvious and prosaic. The pandemic has forced what was four separate geographical locations, with offices working successfully in their own funnels, with no real need for crossover, to come together and fully unite as a team.
The technology factor
Aided and abetted by Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and Zoom, anyone can be invited to attend these virtual meetings – and they do.
We have found that our teams appreciate connectivity and there has been a real feeling of ‘in it together’ which has evolved into a sharing of experience and ideas.
We’re no longer the Reading office, the Birmingham office, the Manchester office and the London office. We’re still mainly working from home, which puts us in many places, coming together as a whole and using our skillsets for the benefit of all teams. Where we are in the country is irrelevant.
We haven’t been isolated in this experience.
Zoom’s user numbers had gone from 10 million a day to 200 million by May and many other work-chat apps reported a similar surge in demand as the technology became more familiar across companies, encompassing diverse and multi-generational business users.
People have been jumping onto video calls and joining meetings they would have travelled between office branches to attend.
For us, this has had a practical impact on the way we structure our work and a positive impact on our culture.
Moving forward, we will continue to use the technology to ensure that this collective sharing of work and support is maintained.
It’s been inspiring to hear so many different voices and opinions. It’s also informative and educational to work with people closely from our other offices for the first time.
We’re experiencing the practices they, maybe, do a bit differently and hearing about the results they are achieving first hand, rather than via a monthly reporting document or email update.
This level of collusion has enriched our working practice.
With the help of technology, we’re stronger and more enlightened and it’s been an excellent reminder – we most definitely are greater than the sum of our parts.