Working closely with an Italian team means seeing your future before it happens. I’ve seen them react to their evolving situation including travel restrictions, school closures, shops closing and working from home. In almost daily update video calls, over the last few weeks it’s been clear that this was going to be the new normal for all of us. And now it’s here.
We were meant to be in New York last week for a global meeting but as the clock ticked towards take off, people dropped out as the situation worsened and then the client guidance was to stop all business travel and switch to remote meetings. Two days of meetings on video screens across New York, San Jose, Zurich, London and our base in the West Country. All successful if a little stop-start at times when it came to screen sharing (Teams or Zoom are much better). The funny thing being the team in New York had one of those cameras/sound devices that moves to who is talking. When one unfortunate person started eating crisps the camera shot to her 😉
We have had clients ask for our approach to contingency planning which we have advised them on. Some of our clients have either asked all their employees to work remote or to exclude visitors from their offices. One new member of staff joined our client on Monday and at midday they were sent home with everyone else to work remote. A tough start!
But we’ve been busy preparing. Considering our main client is based in Zurich and we have a network of people across Europe and the world, working remotely and via video or conf call is pretty normal for us anyway. We’ve made sure that people have Teams set up, Slack working and are able to access the server remotely. We have a daily check in where we make sure everyone is all ok and where support is needed. There are virtual lunches and coffee time happening. Calls from a few doors or miles away to London, Turin, Zurich, Cologne, Brussels and Paris over the last two days alone. And we get to see inside the homes and work spaces of our colleagues and clients. And it’s nice to not have to apologise when your kids appear on screen too. That’s just how it’s going to be now.
And definitely turn your video on. You might think it weird looking at your own face but it breaks down the barriers and makes you feel connected. It stops you and everyone else being distracted by the email pings, the mobile phone and the Slack notifications. It’s much nicer than just staring at initials on a screen too.
On a lighter note, washing your hands more needs a bit of fun. You’re meant to repeat “Happy birthday to you” twice in your head to get to the twenty seconds of recommended wash time. But that’s a bit dull so why not print your own lyrics ?
And we’re enjoying this song from the Mexican government. Gets catchy from about 1 min