Before COVID-19, I had never worked in an office setting that widely used chat groups or video calls. Working in an open-concept office, we easily bounced ideas off each other in one of the many huddle and brainstorm areas we had. However, like for many of us, that quickly changed earlier this year.
Transitioning into a work from home environment was a bit of an adjustment, but one that has opened our eyes to the many inventive ways an office can collaborate. Here are some key tips that we’ve learned along the way and are trying to perfect during this strange season.
Video chats are your new best friend
If your office was the type to have frequent brainstorm sessions on client projects or even promoted the idea of sitting in a small group to complete tasks, a team video platform has probably become your new best friend. Instead of sitting in a room overlooking the Houston skyline, you’re now looking into each of your coworker’s kitchens, guest bedrooms and living rooms. Doesn’t mean you are any less creative! We’ve used this as a tool to see how others react to our ideas, build off each other for a project, or even catch up when we have five minutes to spare.
Culture is still important for employees
One thing that has kept our “office life” normal, is the virtual gathering for happy hours and staff meetings. Normally getting together once a month to celebrate birthdays and client achievements, we’re used to having that time to unwind. Even while working remotely, you can still incorporate positive work experiences for employees with office activities that will continue to integrate them into the culture. Something that has been a benefit since working from home, is that we’re now able to easily connect with our other Texas office locations.
Communicate, and then communicate some more
Working in an open-concept space, communication has never been a problem within the office. We talk as we walk from meetings, during lunch, and everything in between. However, now that we can’t lean over and check what our coworker is doing, we’ve had to over-communicate the small things. Through email, chats, and phone calls, I think it’s safe to say we’re in more contact now than ever before. Understanding from the beginning that communications would need to ramp up helped ease the transition into home offices. By now, you’ve probably figured out what works best for your group and are continually looking for ways to stay in touch without being invasive.
Refining virtual collaboration
What may have been easy to define in January, collaboration looks much different now. As we continue to move forward and eventually gather back in person at the office, I think that our offices will be stronger for the various ways we’ve had to work together. This time has allowed us to become a cohesive working unit, helping and building one another up.