At Mojo Soup, when big changes occur, our first thought is to check in on both our team and our customers. When COVID-19 restrictions first started rolling out, we spent a significant amount of time discussing our various experiences, both good and bad, of working from home. After all, working from home wasn’t totally new for us; some of our team members have been working from home in different capacities for years now. However, moving our entire work force to working from home was new to us, so we also spent time hearing from customers, partners, family members and friends about their experiences; we even did a good bit of googling! Recognising that no single approach would suit us all, we still found value in gathering key best practices for our collective learning. After solidifying what worked for us, we want to share the lessons we learned.
- The importance of using technology well
- Working from home is an opportunity to use the tools at hand to their fullest capability (e.g. video conferencing: ensuring that we use video, mute ourselves when not talking, are mindful of our presence in the meeting, facilitating well, etc.). Explore the features of the tools you’re using so you can maximise your experience.
- Help others to use the tools well by assisting with set up or helping them use useful features like the raising hand/chat function in Teams. Share your tips and tricks and experiences, and actively look for tips from others.
- Utilising new technologies to facilitate face to face events like workshops and design playbacks. We found the Teams whiteboard that is available with booked meetings, and the Mural online application provided exceptional value throughout various engagements.
- The importance of being mindful about what’s happening
- Recognising that everyone’s situation is different is an important lesson. We all have different circumstances to manage relative to family, lifestyle, pets, location, and working preferences. We found that humanising our experience has been the most beneficial thing to all of us during the isolation period, and the best thing is it’s a free service! To enable this, we spend the first 2-3 minutes of most meetings asking each other, customers included, ‘how are you?’ and actively listening to the responses.
- Altering expectations of one’s self and of others by understanding that colleagues or customers on meetings may be fatigued and learning to accept (and embrace!) that ambient distractions in our households are part of life. Part of being effective through working remotely has also been the flexibility of expectations. Having this flexibility is a key input to reducing stress and anxiety around the increased expectation of online meetings.
- The importance of accepting that things are still changing…
- Not everyone is resuming work in the same way, at the same time, or in the same capacity. At Mojo Soup, we took a deep dive into what the future state work environment could look like for our team. We have used a number of approaches to collect our thoughts on this, including brainstorming sessions, surveys and open discussions. After many conversations, we have come to realise that we want to take a flexible, balanced approach to normalising our return to face to face work arrangements, considering government advice, team members’ opinions, and the ability to service our customers. Having a heightened trust across your team will make this a much easier process than if you regulate and dictate.
- Lastly, the pandemic is still in progress! We’re still learning and experiencing this new way of working together, as are our peers, families and friends. This is a learning journey that we’re all still on.
We hope that some of our learnings provide you with insights as to how this hectic year can be tackled, and of course, if you ever want more information or just a chat about any of the above, please reach out!