The new work norm: Adapting during challenging times

The situation is changing all the time and we’ve moved into a period of great uncertainty and worry. Office-based workers who are used to the routine, camaraderie and banter of office life are now working from home, adapting to the new work norm.

Our working day in the office revolves around our clients’ businesses. We work with our clients to ensure that their IT systems support their business, enabling them to carry out their business and not have to be concerned about their computer systems.

As an IT service company, Orca’s staff work on shifts to support our clients IT systems. Our team are used to sitting at their workstation, supporting clients on the phone, sharing their screens and sorting out their IT problems. The office is dominated by the big screens on the walls that keep track of incoming calls, with updates on our resolution of those calls. And we have regular client site visits to upgrade and maintain their physical IT infrastructure.

Adjusting to working from home

So how are our colleagues reacting to the different workplace that has changed at a pace unimaginable just a month ago? As a business, Orca has a well-defined business continuity plan that was activated calmly and methodically, with all colleagues kept updated on progress. So our team had an expectation of how the plan was going to be executed.

But all best BCP plans in the world don’t prepare people who are used to a busy office environment to transition to working from home, our new work norm. Where they may be either on their own or else trying to distance themselves from partners/ flatmates/ children (depending on their personal circumstances) when they want to focus on carrying out their work as professionally as usual.

Maintaining the company culture

So how do we make sure that we keep the company culture continuous at the same time as the technical continuity? It’s important to keep the communications going.  So we are using instant messaging – which we have always used internally in the office. But now we are also using more  video calling so that we can maintain better interpersonal contact even if we are all socially distant.

We’ve been sharing pictures of our home workstations – many complete with our pets as company. It’s important to feel connected to our colleagues. And keeping up the banter online.

Communication and collaboration

As an IT service company, we’ve always used collaboration and project management tools, so it’s pretty much business as usual with these systems. Although now we can’t just tell a colleague face-to-face that the project folder has been updated, have a quick chat about a technical issue or share some ideas. We just have to use our instant messages to chat.

We have a daily team video meeting to discuss client projects and any work issues. But we also need to keep communication channels open with the management team  for colleagues who are feeling isolated or uncertain about the new work norm We need to support the mental health of our team.

Physical as well as mental health

We’re also concerned about the physical health of our staff and now that gyms are closed and our outside access is curtailed, this is a concern.  One of our team is a qualified fitness instructor so we are doing some online classes after working hours.

We are now living in a virtual world where online communication is even more essential to our business and personal lives. It’s vital that we keep our IT systems functioning to maintain our digital communication. For more information on how Orca can help to support your business at this difficult time, contact us.

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