This year is special. The global pandemic was something no one considered in their business plans or the organisation of their daily operations, but somehow everybody had to adapt to it. As a nearshore software development house with production offices in 3 countries, we are used to operating remotely and so, initially, we did not expect any major changes in how we do our business. But what was the reality and what actually changed this year?
The beginning of the lockdown was quite challenging not only from an organisational perspective but also for the uncertainty it created for all of us. Would we be able to deliver products without seeing each other face to face? Would our productivity drop due to staying at home? Would our VPN infrastructure handle an increased number of remote connections? These were our main concerns as well as of our customers. Now, looking back, we can say that the transition to home offices was incredibly smooth and fast. Our IT flexibly solved the individual need to maintain productivity and ensure home office wellbeing. Moreover, we did not encounter any productivity issues. Some of our customers even reported increased productivity. We have strengthened our confidence in our employees, as well earning more trust from our customers. Because of COVID-19, we are now sure that operating fully remotely is possible without compromising on efficiency.
We all know the situation where you go with your colleague for a social occasion – a casual lunch perhaps or to grab a coffee in the recreation room – but the you connect business with pleasure and use the time to solve some work-related issue. Since this was not possible during lockdown times, we had to fill up our weekly plans with regular update calls as well as some casual virtual coffee breaks to stay in touch with each other. As spontaneous contacts disappeared, we had to learn how to manage our time even better.
Does face to face contact matter?
Although we did our best to stay in touch with our colleagues as well as our customers, we must admit that in some aspects face to face contact turned out to be irreplaceable. Even though we started to organise online workshops with customers from the start, we found it harder to build a closer relationship between each other without meeting face to face. Among our staff, we encountered a few situations where, after weeks on the same project, people still did not know each other by name, or new hires were leaving during the probation period because they didn’t get a sense of belonging in the company. Despite this, we remain cautious and still organise workshops online although we are beginning to host some of the first ones face to face, of course putting all the safety precautions in place. We are doing our best to adapt to the new situation and keep our relations close while at the same time, looking forward to the time when we will be able to just jump on a plane and meet all together again.