Ways of Working: Technology, Tools & Attitude

It was in my calendar to write something on this topic anyway. But now of course, the wider issues which we are all facing in terms of the COVID-19 situation, make the topic even more relevant than it already seemed.

As a concept, “Ways of Working” has been slowly gathering momentum in businesses for some years. Particularly in those where technology and services combine to allow greater levels of flexibility. You remember the old 7 Ps of marketing? Well, ‘place’ is less important than it used to be in that list. And it’s certainly no longer a requirement that we are physically in a specific place in order to perform effectively as a team in digital change.

So how are we adapting to allow for different ways of working at The Impact Team? I think, broadly, our approach falls into two categories: tools and attitudes.

The first is easier to deal with, I suppose. For some time now we, as a team, have embraced different ways of communicating to allow for the fact that we are often physically not co-located and to support the flexibility required by our colleagues who have non-working commitments involving children, older family members and so forth. We connect daily by video conference and regularly remind our co-workers that, if it’s a conversation it goes on Slack, and if it’s more like a memo, it goes on email. We embrace Jira and Confluence in all of our activities, in managing change and operational improvements as well as in technology projects, and we are always looking at and assessing new tools, not just for the sake of adding another app to the list, but in case we can see a better way to get stuff done.

When it comes to attitude, no tool can make a person embrace a different way of working. But seeing projects succeed certainly can, and we look to positively reinforce our personal experiences regularly. We encourage over-communication. If I have a question, or need to get a colleague’s opinion, I more often than not speak to them. I call, I ping them using video chat. If they’re busy, they’re free to not answer, but we certainly find that the more we talk, the more we communicate, the fewer opportunities there are for blockers to not be brought to light and for solutions to be identified more quickly, and with greater creativity.

There’s so much more to say on this broad topic through which we are all finding different ways of getting stuff done, especially with everyone now working from home. Next week I’ll share some thoughts on managing time effectively and the ever important issue of work life balance.

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