20 Apr 2020 Andrew Spicer
Today, in New Zealand we moved from Level 4 to Level 3. Here and around the world, it has undoubtedly been a challenging couple of weeks for most businesses. You've probably had the experience of packing up your essentials from the office and moving them home, screens, desktop maybe even a printer.
Remote working or working from home has now become the goto out of necessity; for some people, this will be a significant change. However, for most people in the corporate world, working from home is something we have all done at one time or another. Some people do it regularly, or in some cases, that's all they have ever known.
The past few weeks have allowed me to reflect on one of my jobs in the UK. At the time, most of the team were London based, and I worked out of my home office in Manchester. For me, it was reasonable to spend my day using technology to connect with the world outside; email and the phone were the technology of choice in those days.
Now I think about where we are today and how the world has moved on. The technology available now has made the transition in the current environment so easy, for example, as a Microsoft Partner (Azure CSP) we use Microsoft Teams (disclaimer other applications are available such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, GoogleHangouts). I have daily video calls with members of the team, whether it's a set meeting or just to check-in or even just to ask a quick question. The reality is instead of just getting up from my desk and walking over to a colleague to have a chat, we now have a video call and were done.
One of the significant differences that I have noticed is my volume of email have dropped, and I mean this in a right way, I'm spending more time talking to people on video calls than I ever have before. It's not just the team either it's the same with customer one or two clicks and were connected.
It is also interesting because "working from home" was sometimes seen as a euphemism for "taking a mental health day" and one of the things I've seen with my team is that the typical working day is just that. I can trust them to be online when they should be. We are encouraging a daily online coffee break with one rule, no work talk; we are encouraging people to take a break when they need to, and most importantly stick to a routine and make sure you finish for the day.
For the next few weeks, New Zealand will remain at level 3, for me and the team nothing really changes, we continue to work from home, we continue to get the job done.
So just to sum up my thoughts, yes in this new world, though there are a few things to challenge us, it is just another day and there are a few we can be grateful for, the commute from the kitchen to the office is nowhere near as bad as the usual drive to work, and the coffee doesn't get that cold on the way.