Several businesses worldwide face challenges because of the COVID-19 epidemic and the related protective measures. Our company is one of the lucky ones. We had the chance to react quickly without interrupting our projects and operations. Our employees switched to home office all around the world seamlessly in mid-March (this was already an option in a few positions). However, this doesn’t mean that the transition was without its challenges.
To provide a little insight into our day-to-day operations, we asked some of our team members how they see the present situation, how they are affected by the changes, how they try to tackle the newly emerged hurdles.
First, we discussed these questions with our Business Development Executive in the CEE region, Cintia. This time, Sivajothi, our QA (Quality Assurance) Manager shares her tips and experience.
Can you tell us a bit about your position, your daily tasks?
I’m managing the team designated to one of our projects. I’m also responsible for QA and customer communication in that project. These three are the main tasks I’m currently doing.
Many companies have decided to continue working from home office for the safety of their employees, our company is among them. What kind of preparations were needed to make your position ready for home office?
The system, the internet connection, and everything else I need for work have already been available for me. The only thing I’m missing at home is a workstation. That is the only difficulty. After the first day, I got a severe back pain. Now, I have a better arrangement so I’m managing quite well. Otherwise, I don’t have any problem with the lighting, bandwidth or anything else. I’m working in a separate room, so I’m not disturbed.
How do you feel about working from home?
It’s nice that I can eat anything I want at any time. Then, of course, flexible timing is also a positive aspect. I can start early and close the day early, or if I start a little bit later, I can prolong my working day, or I can even work a bit during the night. That’s not an issue. Besides, I don’t need to travel, I don’t waste time due to external factors. You can arrange your day more flexibly.
What are the new challenges you face because of home office, and how do you try to tackle them?
I need to have consonance within my team. In the office, my team knows I’m communicating with the client. They know I forward the questions they have and based on the client’s requests and questions, I ask the team to clarify some details, do certain tasks. But right now, the team can’t see how much I’m communicating with the client and with the other team members, or what other questions I’m getting. So, when I ask something, I need to make sure no-one has the impression that I’m nagging them because I keep posing questions, or anything like that.
Now, we use chat programs as a primary channel of communication instead of spoken communication. At first, this caused a little dissonance in our work. I need to think more about the wording when I’m writing, you know, these are the things that I think are quite difficult. When I communicate with the team indirectly, not face to face, the message sometimes appears different from the meaning I’m actually trying to convey. That’s why now I’m even more conscious about how I communicate with my team.
I don’t see any difference in the communication with the clients though. I have the daily calls the same way as I had before, so there is no issue.
So, the only difficulty I experience, is this one, needing to be more careful with my wording. And, also, when we are in the office, we feel more stress-free. Even if I have a hard day, more things to do, we can have a chitchat, have some fun, and then continue our work. I feel like there is more stress when we work from home.
In addition to working from home, are there any changes evoked by the Covid-19 pandemic in your job?
So far, there is no delay or communication gap from either the client side or from the team. We all have good network connectivity and individual laptops.
But one of our clients was a bit uneasy about the transfer to home office, he was concerned whether our productivity would continue as expected in spite of the changes. I wanted to make sure he doesn’t feel that way, so we’ve switched to daily communication with that client instead of having a call only on every other day as we did before. I always update him on the daily progress, what the team’s output for the day is.
Do you have any advice for people who are in a similar situation and position as you are?
When communicating with the team or with a client via text messages, you need to make sure that you are conveying the message the correct way.
It’s possible that someone is more tense during these stressful times and talks to you less politely than usual. Even if that happens, you need to make sure you don’t ask your team the same way; you shouldn’t pass the stress on to them. You need to tell them calmly, politely and in a solution-oriented way what the current issue is or what information you need. You must communicate the right way when you are talking to the team or to the client, or to both at the same time.