Like many people, I have worked through the pandemic. Unlike many I have seen first hand my customers relocate from office to home, I have met pets, partners and kids celebrated successes, and heard about the impact on the day-to-day human lives as well as business-critical issues enhanced by the lockdown and subsequent restrictions.
I have seen companies speed up transformation timelines for SaaS tools and also panic buy collaboration and remote enablement tools. After years of talking to customers, the pandemic has added a new depth and new humanity to business operations.
CFO's and FD's CTO's and IT Directors who once were always so suited and booted are now relocated to home offices, sheds, spare rooms, and playrooms attired more casually that relaxed vibe seems to make for a more productive honest conversation. Agendas that were once so ridged and clear are now flexed as a child, pet or wife accidentally contributes to the call.
My own home once a sanctuary from work is now open for business & homeschool and I will be honest I couldn't be happier!
I made a list of all the things that went on whilst I remote worked and in one year on the backdrop of the pandemic I personally juggled :
- A house move & 90% of the decoration done
- A new arrival to the family ( sleepless nights abound)
- A death
- Secondary homeschool for GCSE's
- Primary homeschool
- A job change
- My partner doing his degree at home as well ( he is becoming a rocket scientist so his lessons were a massive juxtaposition to my normal workday)
Where once I'd have been exhausted and leveraging time off to get things done working from home has meant I am empowered to do more and just plan my days better.
I used to live for the ritual of the office the donning on the suit, application of makeup mad dash for school runs and early meetings oh and of course the commute time was my sanctuary a magical switch from home to office or at the end of the day office to home. ( Occasionally if I finished early my partner and I would meet for a sneaky mini-date at a pub and share a quiet 20 minutes before we had to grab everyone from the never-ending schedule of afterschool activities).
Of course now as things reopen the odd office day or team event will crop up but fundamentally many of the organisations and people I work with and for will remain like me at home. So the challenge for many of us becomes a question of how do we prove productivity and collaboration works when employees aren't chained to an office?
Transformation with focus, the art of the possible - more and more I am hearing from customers they want to know what isn't possible with technology I like to flip it on its head what do you want to do that you can't but think should be possible make technology work for you! Create seamless end to end processes by having your systems talk together - start by picking apart those tasks that take too much time and require manual exporting, importing clunky processes from there the rest will follow your teammates will be happier and more productive you'll end up with fewer bottlenecks and administration burn out will become thing of the past. I have seen everything from the top end of Drones and AI to a simple change in master organisation structure within a system remove hurdles and reduce the time for the task. I even heard of a company doing QR codes for all their customers to gain access to the customers' data, not just orders and faster. The truth is meaningful long-term transformation happens best in a paced focused way taking learnings from past projects and processes to create better ways of challenging the status quo.
Our phones and tablets provide the ability to log into apps like SAP Business ByDesign to approve or deny requests on the fly or whilst taking our pandemic puppy for a walk! Also being able to see and sign off or collaborate further on reports with features around single sign-on means everything can be accessed much faster.
Energy for people who need people, I regularly like to dial in a friend on teams and then work in the background on our daily admin tasks it is company but also collaborative sharing ideas or even just taking control of your browser to help with an errant task you just can't fix. In my line of work, I am seldom lonely because I see customers but for many other teams in operations or finance this can be a powerful function when combined with SAP ByDesign in teams - to allocate tasks and action any hurdles. Huddles for sales teams and finance teams that are socially distanced by many miles!
My final cheat that doesn’t abuse any technology and only costs about £10 is a switch from the office chair to a yoga ball, basic human comfort I spend pretty much my working hours on a yoga ball keeps my posture good and my core strong ( everyone says that I haven't noticed a difference ) it also means that if and when I am juggling a lot and I feel my energy slipping I bounce on my yoga ball I can clear my head, think through and issues or just cheer myself up. Apart from the odd occasion where I fall off ( and then teammates or customers are amused by the slapstick comedy of it).
The truth is the whole world has changed over the last 15 or so months people, businesses the way and frequency we engage with each other and technology I for one plan to embrace change and ask technology to keep on being as agile and adaptive as my needs and the needs of my customers require.