Teleworking, as we never knew it

Just a few weeks ago, when looking up images for remote working, most results were picturing a beach, a cocktail, and some shadowy palms in the background. Today, we are all painting a very different picture.

Since mid-March, I would say about 95% of RomSoft has been working remotely. Don’t get me wrong, we used to work remotely before quite a lot, just not all of us at once.

The transition was fast and pretty easy. Taking into account the fact that it is the responsible thing to do in this global crisis we are going through, I would like to note a few aspects that changed in the way we function at work, as a team and individually, in just a few days.

We’re rapidly adapting to a new reality

We switched to working from home on Monday, 16 of March. On the first day we tested the limits of our network to support its remote working capacity. The main problem we faced was with the communication via Microsoft Teams, but the next day Microsoft announced increasing its team limit to support up to 5000 members. We needed to move some equipment around and yes, our network admin has had a few rough days. Hope you’re doing better, Andrei.

But other than that, we’re agile, we’re used to teleworking, and there are no disruptions in our activity.

But in a subtler way, life as we know it has changed.

We take social distancing seriously

This is how we used to be:

how we were before mid March 2020

Flocking to the kitchen to get coffee or a slice of warm bread that was just baked in our bread machine, chatting away on the sunny terrace or planning the future of our products in the colored meeting rooms.

And while we miss that very much, it’s safer for everybody the way we are now, as seen here:

teleworking after mid March 2020

For some of us it’s the living room, for some the kitchen table, for some (the lucky ones!) the guest bedroom. But we’re all still very much connected.

We talk to our customers more

Not much has changed in the way we communicate with our clients. Emails, phone calls and video calls were already in the menu. But the appetite has grown in the last two weeks, as we seem to be spending more time talking to them, checking up on things, anticipating, adapting where necessary.

We communicate more emphatically

The physical isolation is bringing us closer together in spirit, via technology.

There’s not been a discussion with a teammate these days that didn’t include checking on how the other person is. We ask each other if we’re alright and how we cope with the situation generated by the global health crisis. We communicate more with friends and family, we reconnect with people we lost contact years ago, and every interaction is deeper and more meaningful.

We find solutions

For everything we were used to do offline we find solutions to move online.

A Kanban board can be moved to Trello. Planning our meetings is easier, now that we don’t depend on finding an available meeting room. We supplied laptops to colleagues who needed them. And generally, in our industry, there’s nothing a good pair of headphones and a web camera won’t solve, in terms of communication. Well, almost nothing…

We support the local community

Colleagues are engaging more and more in helping the local community: what once was carried out following a carefully planned script is now more or less in the improv zone. We feel the need to act now, we feel like planning or thinking too much would mean to lose essential time.

Sharing, donating, joining support groups, volunteering time and knowledge, and working together to find solutions… are just a few ways we’ve seen our people take action in the last days.

We’re more responsible about what we share online

We tend to share only info that could be of help: how to increase productivity when working remotely (thanks, Claudiu), how to make bread without yeast (cc Miha), or what are the latest admin procedures (kudos, Cora). We double check information often. We share more jokes. Humor is seen as a coping instrument in difficult times, so there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve always been a funny bunch, but these days it seems everyone has been bitten by the comedy bug.

We’re digitally busy

All courses and seminars, where possible, have moved online. Artists and performers have moved online. Yoga classes have moved online. The webinars are taking over the world. Many are free and probably key to keeping communities together. We’re taking this time as an opportunity to learn more, play more, relax more.

We talk more openly about our mental health

In these times of increased stress we seem to let our guard down more often when it comes to sharing our psychical state with other people. It’s not taboo anymore to vent, to ask for help, to share our techniques to reduce anxiety and depression.

So I’ll go first: I don’t know about you, but I do miss our morning coffee together and baking the first bread of the day.

Stay productive, stay safe, and stay sane, wherever you are!