On Bubble Time: Working from home
Apr 16, 2020
A few questions were posed to me the other day around how the Alert Level 4 lockdown has impacted on the way that we at Optic Security Group are working, and what the short- and long-term implications of our sudden move to working from home are.
As a tech-driven security business, we were already geared up for remote working, so the move didn’t feel as sudden as it may have felt for many others. The interesting questions for me, therefore, are around what insights lockdown provides in relation to how we might work and collaborate into the future. 1. How has our service to customers changed in lockdown? In the several days either side of the commencement of Alert Level 4 lockdown, we posted daily social media updates advising our customers of our Covid-19 safety measures focused on keeping our staff and our customers safe. These included shutting down our office premises, initiating work from home (WFH) arrangements for office staff, and ensuring our field technicians (who make up around 50 percent of our total workforce) were armed with the right PPE and safety knowledge to perform the essential service of ensuring our customers’ security during lockdown. I’m super-impressed with how our people made such an immediate and purposeful pivot towards new ways of working. We also did a big push to ‘check-in’ with our customers, ensuring they had what they needed to work remotely and that we were providing any support they needed. With the upsurge in people working from home, we’re receiving more enquiries about remote working and how to make it secure. To this end, we’ve just released a great brochure that details our remote working services. 2. How has WFH changed things? As an essential service, we’ve rapidly adapted to WFH for all office staff out of the need to carry on regardless of the circumstances and support customers such as DHBs, telecos, and government ministries, including Defence and Justice. This has created a closer sense of working across distance as our teams become (ironically!) closer – everyone is now on a single pane of glass rather than five groups of people in five offices on video conference. It has made us tighter as a team despite being physically distant. Suits are replaced with the real person and that opens up authenticity and personality and creates greater bonds, which I believe will change us for the better well after the lockdown is lifted.
3. What are you doing to lead now in this kind of environment? My daily Teams calls with the leadership team and direct reports have led – I think – to a deeper understanding of each other. Situated in our respective home environments, we all recognise we are sharing family space and we’re gaining an understanding of each other and our personal contexts that would have eluded us pre-lockdown. As work crosses physically into the home, it drives a stronger team ethos that supports and appreciates all our families for allowing this intrusion. It goes to show that work and home can coexist in the same space if the right leadership approach and mindset encourages it to happen. 4. How are you preparing for going back? We’re conducting an office space review – how do we ensure, for example, that our work spaces are utilised as much as possible for personal space, not reduced. We’re considering the various roles that don’t necessarily need to be in the office, and we’re looking to implement more hot-desking where it makes good sense to do so. It’s about delivering on what we already know – that people can work flexibly and remotely and be just as – if not more – effective in doing so! The work spaces of tomorrow really need to foster personal connection and team building, because we’ve shown over the past few weeks that work can happen anywhere… and that we now have a new understanding of just how valuable the time we do spend together is. If you’d like to know more about how we can help your people seamlessly and securely work remotely, contact us and take a look at our Remote Working brochure. Stay safe, Jason Cherrington, Group CEO, Optic Security Group