David Holman, Director, Armour Mobile
For some sections of society, working from home is now the new normal and, it’s looking set to stay that way. We have seen several high profile organisations stating that staff will be working from home for the rest of the year and into 2021 https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-expects-its-staff-to-work-from-home-until-2021-and-its-not-alone/ This includes the likes of Google, Twitter, Facebook, Barclays Bank, and global ad and marketing agency WPP.
At Armour Comms, before COVID-19 we were totally committed to office based working. We thought that, for example, developers needed to be together to talk through problems and spark new ideas. We thought that people would be less productive working from home.
Now that it has been forced on us, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how well it has worked. Productivity is at least the same, if not better, and people seem to be communicating well (and securely), using our own technology.
Some of us have long commutes, up to four hours a day – that’s a huge amount of time saved, which all adds to a better quality of life.
However, for all the benefits both to the business and individuals, we do still need to maintain a sense of community and team. We’ve hired new people during lockdown, and getting them up to speed, and ensuring they feel like they are part of the Armour family is harder without that face to face contact that we all actually quite enjoy.
Eating our own dogfood!
We’ve been using our own technology – in a real life situation, rather than testing it in the office where we have infinite bandwidth and excellent mobile coverage. Now we’re running our business using Armour Mobile. Its working well (well we would say that wouldn’t we!), but its also given us an insight into some of those little niggles that all software comes with, and now we’re even more motivated to iron them out.
Feedback from our customers has been interesting too. For example, people need secure conference/video calls for two, three or four people, but they don’t always need to see 30 windows with a video of everyone on the call – bandwidth at home doesn’t often allow it. It’s giving us a focus on exactly where to improve the products.
So, Lockdown week 7 – what do we know?
- Working from home is just as productive – most of the time
- Keeping that feeling of being part of a team is much harder and needs concerted effort so that people don’t feel isolated
- People always find a way to communicate – so you must give them the proper tools to communicate securely
- Flexible working is here to stay, so we need to adapt to the new ‘normal’ in all aspects of the business.