Industries around the world are acclimatising to the reinvention of the traditional workplace as we continue to navigate the new normal alongside COVID-19. Following the exponential rise in remote working, it has become clear that decades-old business management styles and workplace setups are no longer appropriate. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the lessons we’ve learned during COVID-19, assessing whether the structural changes we implemented towards the end of last year were the right ones to make after all.
At the end of last year, we restructured our company and the way it’s managed to ensure that we were far more flexible, agile and responsive to both industry and client pivots. These shifts meant that we were working more remotely than ever before.
Whilst we certainly weren’t conscious of what was to come, we were making meaningful changes to our business that would ensure that we were prepared for the impact of COVID-19. In straying from traditional formatting, we were unknowingly giving ourselves a competitive advantage which would help us to maintain productivity levels during the pandemic.
Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned during COVID-19 that will serve to mould our business and the way we work as we navigate life alongside the virus.
When we first began remodelling our business, we were keen to make We Are Mobile First all the more adaptable to shifting circumstances and challenges as efficiently as possible.
We pride ourselves on our agility when it comes to our professional work and we felt that the basic structure of our company should be equally representative of that quality. As we soon came to understand, the transition to remote work requires far more planning, thought and motivation than you first realise.
When you aren’t used to remote work, you may have visions of slow mornings filled with quiet reflection and study before adjourning to your desk for an afternoon of hard graft that’s free from distractions. When, in reality, it can look a little different.
We’ve come to appreciate just how much focus is required from the very beginning in order to build remote working practices that are accessible, consistent and fulfilling for all. This meant adapting equipment and technological tools and focusing more of our energy on building a sense of community.
In dedicating time to focused connection and consistent communication during the pandemic, we’ve made remote work a much more viable option for us.
Check out our post on how to work remotely for our tried-and-tested advice.
You can only truly achieve a clear vision and strategy for the future if every single member of your team is moving synchronously towards the same end goal. This requires a lot of contemplative conversations.
During the pandemic, we’ve realised just how much clarity is borne from working together at the same pace - from creating an inclusive environment to nurturing initiative, rewarding pro-activity to coaching one another through uncertainty.
It’s essential to build a team that strikes the perfect balance between independence and community. Whilst we may find that these markers move slightly post-pandemic, it has never been more important to be on the same page.
It became clear to us pre-pandemic that the traditional company format was no longer flexible enough to accommodate the needs of both our team members and our clients. We needed to be able to adapt to events, whether they were unforeseen or otherwise, and the pandemic has only served to affirm just how important it is for us to break from tradition and go with our gut instinct.
As we mentioned in our post on coworking in Barcelona, we believe it’s important to invest in the creativity and productivity of our team members by giving them the freedom to create and maintain a workspace that works best for them.
Whilst lockdown may not have facilitated the levels of freedom we would perhaps prefer, it has certainly confirmed just how powerful and important it is to respect team members as whole individuals with rich lives outside of the work environment. Invest in your team and trust in them to show up time and time again and you’ll create far better working conditions.
Prior to the pandemic, we shared a post on what we felt were the 5 essential lessons business managers needed to learn in 2020. Living through a pandemic has most definitely reinforced several of the points we shared within that post, especially with regards to the importance of planning ahead and being prepared for the unimaginable.
Business planning, however, doesn't just have to focus on sales, expenses, and financial benefits. Building a rich, inclusive company culture is just as important when it comes to achieving a whole host of business objectives.
COVID-19 requires more than short-term planning. In conducting reviews during this time and being cognisant of the lessons you’re learning, you’ll be able to draft long-term policies that will prepare you for even the strangest of circumstances.
Speaking to Silicon, Bob Sibik, Senior Vice President and co-founder of Fusion Risk Management, had the following to say on what COVID-19 teaches tech businesses about contingency planning:
‘After the crisis, businesses should focus their effort and resources on resilience, on building a common information foundation that is kept current and accurate, and on mapping the organisational and ecosystem dependencies to understand how their business can be disrupted, and how disruption can ripple through the organisation.’
Business planning just got even more thorough but this attentiveness should serve to facilitate more time for company-wide reflection which will highlight underlying issues and allow for efficient resolution.
There’s comfort in familiarity and that often makes big, meaningful change - particularly where shifts in the very foundations of your company are concerned - seem daunting.
When we first trialled remote work, we understood that it came with risks or, at the very least, negative connotations. We have been conditioned to believe that the workforce can only exist harmoniously if it conforms to a 9-5, in-house structure. As huge numbers of people adapt to working remotely, however, it’ll be interesting to see whether those stereotypes are upheld or whether it enacts permanent change on a global scale.
In a recent survey run by Restore Technology, a UK-based company offering technical support services, 80% of the 200 organisations surveyed expressed that they’re planning to change their business continuity plans post-pandemic with working from home becoming an integral part of future policy.
COVID-19 has affirmed that the changes we made were the right ones to make. Our team is able to manage their time better, spending less time commuting and more time exercising, focusing on projects, nourishing their bodies and spending quality time with loved ones.
We can’t wait to see where these structural changes continue to take us as we advance through the second half of the year.
How have you adapted your professional life during COVID-19? What big lessons have you learned during this time? Tweet us and we’ll be sure to retweet the responses!
We Are Mobile First is a digital product agency based in Barcelona helping to transform businesses in a mobile-first world. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium to be notified of our future posts and stay up-to-date with our company news.
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