Joel, were you used to working remotely also before 2020?
As an Account Manager, I have never had a typical working routine in the office, spending a lot of time at customers or being a lot of time on the road. It happened quite often, therefore, that after a customer visit I continued working from the home office.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenges while working remotely?
I tend to finish working when my inbox is empty or at least prioritised. Also, as working remotely requires more remote communication, meaning a lot more emails and instant messages, you have to put higher effort into staying focused. Discipline and fast reactions are a secret of success in business because if your customer or prospects are used to getting a reply rather fast, you are in among the first for consideration. I get more requests when people expect that I reply fast.
How do you perceive team morale and self-discipline in these times?
In my opinion, the self-discipline is there, maybe even higher now than before corona. Many more replies and faster reaction times are needed. People are more productive as a result of not transferring as much as before and save time for executing tasks. I perceive the quality of the results delivered as on the rise despite the majority of contact being remote.
The team morale as such does not suffer in my view, save for the identification with the company in terms of team spirit. That is only a natural result of people not meeting during corona, except in those times of loosening measures in social distancing. However, the hierarchy becomes flat in times of remote working, which is very positive.
What tips do you have for better mastering the home office?
What helps me personally is that in my home office, everything is settled. I do not even have to start my computer; it is all on my working table, no need to transfer anywhere. I just make myself my coffee and can start the first meeting straight away.
I can react much faster to the incoming requests. Nevertheless, I am a person who tends to work throughout the whole day without a break, so it is important to have a walk in the evening or to play squash, which is my passion.
Do you have a best practice since the corona outbreak to share?
Indeed, we have a big programme running in Spain whose members have never met in person. They were hired, onboarded and synced for the customer project remotely. If someone had asked me a year ago, I wouldn’t have thought this could work. Yet it worked perfectly and we have set up a software site virtually. Twenty-five people who were in touch only remotely – this is a giant leap forward.
Interested in discussing how to keep team morale high?