Since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus a lot has changed. Work has shifted from the office desk to a cozy corner at home. Classrooms have moved online. And meeting friends and family now happens virtually. No social meeting has completely transformed the way we used to function earlier, especially the way we used to work.
Connecting with people working in one office makes management much easier. Face-to-face conversation clears doubts and simplifies work. These don’t happen anymore. And it won’t happen at least for some more weeks or months.
Shifting from office to working remotely poses a lot of challenges, first being the coordination. The core of a good team is how well the members coordinate with one another. This has moved people working remotely to video calling platforms which are playing a major role in connecting people these days.
Platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and also WhatsApp have witnessed a massive surge in demand since the lockdown started. Managers have also started messaging more and keeping in touch with colleagues on a personal level. For instance, talking about work on personal chat makes coordination much easier given groups have too many people on it which can often lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
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How work has changed since lockdown
1) More and more meetings: According to Microsoft’s Modern Workplace transformation team there has been a 10 per cent jump in the number of weekly virtual meetings. This translates to an average of three additional meetings per week per employee. The report states that roughly 7 out of 10 employees experienced at least some increase in meetings. One meeting a day is a great idea to have coordination on spot.
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2) Longer meetings have decreased: People working remotely for about a few months now (two to be specific) will know that work now takes nearly double the time to be completed. For instance, if one starts working at 8AM in the morning there’s no way they can finish work before 8PM unless they have some amazing time management skills. This has resulted in shorter meetings but more meetings compared to the office. The Microsoft report stated that short meetings are replacing long meetings, being scheduled 22 per cent more than long meetings.
3) One-on-one meetings: When in office one-on-one meetings happen rarely, there are usually group meetings. However, while we work remotely, one-on-one meetings have become an integral part of the work process. The Microsoft report also states that personal meetings have increased by 18 per cent. With everyone working remotely it is possible that some members of the team can feel disconnected when compared to others. For such people especially, having one-on-one meetings once a week is very important. Personal meetings can always motivate people to make them feel secure about their job.
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4) Always available on messages: Alongside video calls, working remotely has also made us highly dependent on instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and others to connect with one another. The Microsoft report stated that instant messaging platforms have witnessed up to 72 per cent increase in instant messages (IMs) sent during the ongoing work-from-home period, with the largest increase spanning from 10 AM to 5 PM. This surge was particularly noticeable among managers, who sent 115 per cent more instant messages during March 2020, while individual contributors saw their instant messages jump more than 50 per cent.
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