Why The Tech We Use to Connect During Quarantine Will Persist Post-COVID
This article was originally published by Kevin Forestell, CEO at DOZR, on LinkedIn. Read the original article here.
COVID-19 is shifting patterns at work and at home. These changes are impacting both how efficient we are as individuals and also in how we work to use technology to further develop our relationships. 2020 has no doubt been the world’s largest work-from-home experiment and quite honestly, I think this approach to work is here to stay.
Like many companies, at DOZR we are experiencing a test in resiliency. The outcome? We’re all realizing that working remotely doesn’t have to impact engagement or productivity. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
It’s not that technology has changed over the past few months but more so our willingness to learn about it, use it and rely on it to keep our daily habits, relationships and work responsibilities going.
We have just entered week 9 of self-quarantine, remote work, social distancing. I’ll be honest, the shift to remote work was pretty smooth. Maybe it’s because we are a technology company or maybe it’s because we are fortunate to have such a nimble, adaptable team. Either way, the sudden increase in working from home has presented incredible opportunities for DOZR.
Our teams now hold daily standup meetings over Google Hangouts, chat throughout the day as needed on Slack, track project updates in Trello, and have increased efficiencies in individual schedules by leveraging ‘away’ or ‘on the phone’ status updates.
Work remotely while leaning on tech has allowed us to move faster and complete projects more efficiently because individual team members can leverage the available tech to speak to one another rather than going through a manager for feedback first which ultimately becomes a crutch.
Using video chats has allowed our leadership team to focus on strategy, pivot quickly and find unique ways to grow our company culture. St. Patrick’s Day came and went during our first few days of quarantine life. We decided to seize the day and hold an impromptu party over Google Hangouts. It’s amazing how technology offers ongoing support – which a manager in the office can’t always do – while providing space and autonomy for individuals to focus and work in the best environment that sets them up for success.
One surprising learning for me has been how remote work has enabled our leaders to manage more effectively while giving employees the autonomy they want within their own roles. Our Google Hangout meetings first thing in the morning allow managers to remove any roadblocks for their teams, while checking in on KPIs and project status updates. This is highly efficient for us as the in-office distractions are gone.
This shift in KPI-driven, autonomy-focused leadership is proving successful within individual roles as well. I am able to stay out of the day-to-day tasks of the team and hold members accountable for their actions and projects based on the results.
Although I sing the praises of technology and its influence on our company’s success while working remotely, I have also been experiencing growth at home in my personal relationships. Working from home has allowed us to create our own work schedules. I start earlier in the morning but take a longer lunch break to have a picnic with my family in our backyard. My wife, kids and I have been challenging ourselves to eat healthier. My daughter now helps us cook as part of her “health class” and we are baking bread at home for our meals. I never realized how much I ate out or on the go while working from the office.
Remote work has given me the opportunity to refocus on my health and have a little fun while I’m at it. When I have phone calls at home I now walk outside while on the call – fresh air and exercise giving me the balance I didn’t know I was missing
Technology is having its moment in the spotlight right now – more so than it has so far int he 21st century if that’s even possible
The real question is this: how can we use our knowledge and experience with technology to empower our businesses to embrace these changes permanently when we return to our physical workplaces?
Technology certainly won’t replace human connection but will continue to enhance our productivity and efficiencies in communication and day-to-day interactions. Certain studies have shown that remote employees work an additional 1.4 days per month more than in-office employees – that’s nearly 17 additional workdays a year. Employees also report on average a 7% decrease in distractions from their managers while working remotely.
The pressure is really on for leadership teams to reevaluate how they approach remote work in the future, once we all say goodbye to quarantine life. There are so many positive outcomes to embracing remote work in the future and technology is here to support us. The quality and calibre of collaboration and teamwork can change when work is done remotely. We can develop our empathy skills. We can be more efficient with our time. It is up to leaders to embrace technology and remote work for the sake of their businesses and employees.