By Justine Louw, General Manager, Dell and Microsoft, Tarsus Distribution
Millions of people around the globe were forced on making a sudden switch to remote work amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies transitioned their entire operations to distributed teams with remote technologies and processes. The impact of apps and tools that have facilitated this new way of working cannot be understated.
There were fears that working from home (WFH) would have a negative impact on communication and engagement, but the opposite has happened in many cases and in fact, technology has empowered collaboration like never before.
Anyone who has worked in a team knows that some people have no problem contributing to what is going on, while others are quieter and more reserved. In virtual meetings, however, it’s different.
Whether you use Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Google Meet, video calls (with the camera on) have become a 2020 requirement. With everyone showing their face on the screen, inclusiveness and interaction has become so much easier. Managers are being given the opportunity to engage and include each team member. Where once we found technology alienating, it has come to the fore as the enabler of human interaction in these trying times.
Think instant chat tools, project management platforms, interactive whiteboards for video-enhanced collaboration – these are just some of the best collaborative work from home tech tools that are likely to transform the way we work for generations to come. The key to this level of communication is simple — high-quality video systems, group messaging and encrypted file sharing.
It does mean though that managers need to up their skills when it comes to leading engaging remote meetings. It’s important to have a plan with specific items to cover, and to share the agenda ahead of time to those who will participate, so that everyone can prepare. Asking directly for input helps team members feel engaged, and because listeners can only hear one person at a time clearly, people need to take turns sharing.
Different crises demand different leadership styles. In our current environment, people need to feel connected and have a sense of belonging. What’s emerged during COVID-19 is an ability to see human beings more empathetically.
Let’s take advantage of the technology we have to communicate with each other so that we can build and sustain a resilient community that may be better prepared for any future crisis.