“(My) Team has done very well, but the situation really stinks” was one of the quotes collected during the Tech Anthropology study we recently conducted with Smart Data customers and friends. We wanted to learn about their experiences, and the transitions they worked through to comply with restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
Our goal was to learn about the unique challenges faced and interesting solutions discovered by the surveyed companies and then share the data with you. Here’s a snapshot of the working location change that has occurred:
- Several surveyed companies did not have formal work-from-home policies
- Roughly 60% of team members covered by our survey did not work remotely prior to COVID-19
- None of the companies have 100% of their employees on-site at their normal workplace
- Multiple companies implemented a blended arrangement where some employees (manufacturing/supply chain/essential service) report to the workplace and others, such as IT teams, work remotely.
- One surveyed company that previously had zero remote workers, transitioned the majority of their 2000+ staff to remote work in under two weeks. That included upgrading their infrastructure, purchasing more licenses, rolling-out 500+ laptops, and training the staff on using the laptop and VPN!
COMMUNICATION was a key challenge for 25% of our participants. We discovered a direct correlation between the number of tools used by a Team and where they rated their level of communication.
1 or 2 tools = Strong Communication rating
3+ tools = Communication Struggles
LOSS OF PRODUCTIVITY with the shift to remote work was the top concern of our participants. Having unchanged or increased productivity was the most exciting revelation from the transition.
Contributing to the positive results:
- Team Member Focus – increased availability rather than treating the change as a vacation
- Adaptiveness of Team Members – the speed and extent to which team members embraced the changes was thrilling to management
- Increased collaboration – team members were excited to use their new communication tools
Interesting Discovery: The participants reporting a decrease in productivity had revealed that communication was one of their struggles. See above for more info on communication.
Replicating the in-office SOCIAL CAMARADERIE in remote working environments was the most common challenge identified. Team members and management were missing the face-to-face interaction that was the foundation for interpersonal connections within their organization. Here are some social interaction Dos and Don’ts
Communication and collaboration are two of the foundations on which Smart Data operates. We know our productivity is directly affected by the level of our collaboration. It is something we watch and adjust regularly.
Communication + Collaboration = Improved Productivity
Many of the companies surveyed were still discovering how their communication and collaboration are interconnected to the productivity of their teams and organization. Here are some suggestions we gathered:
Out of necessity, VIRTUAL MEETINGS are now commonplace. Our survey data identified these top challenges:
- Having employees learn and get comfortable with virtual meeting tools
- Teaching employees how to conduct successful virtual meetings
- Finding ways to improve the flow and etiquette of a meeting when visual cues are reduced or missing
INNOVATION is a keyword right now. All around us, innovations are being put into place to move us through this crisis.
We heard about the need for the rapid revamping of processes to shift:
- Paper-based processes to digital
- Hands-on training to virtual sessions
One of the most exciting changes we heard about was how timid team members have stepped out as new leaders within their teams!
This wraps up our series of posts based on the Tech Anthropology study conducted with our customers and friends. We hope you found the data interesting and picked up an idea or two to implement!
Every problem demands a unique solution and Smart Data’s team of talented technology and business experts eagerly take on the tough software challenges our customers are facing. We use a collaborative approach, always keeping the focus on the customer and their needs.