Work from home, containments, isolation… oh my! The times they are a-changin’ and so must we. Relationships are crucial to the well-functioning of our society and economy, yet how do we continue to have those connections with friends, family, business associates and clients in a world where we must isolate? Technology and a consistent commitment to engage is important, whatever the medium is.
I lead a company that has a large base in China, with growing operations in Europe and the United States. Our teams across the world need to communicate regularly and while jumping on a plane to see each other used to be the norm, it’s now being restricted or self-regulated. Fortunately for our company, we have thrived in a world that is virtual almost every day. Consistent communications and the use of technology make us effective and we engage often through phone and video conference, frequent emails and instant messaging.
Talking to our clients is a must. Face-to-face meetings are always best but at times are unrealistic. One of the things we strive for when communicating with each other is to make sure we engage on a personal level. We are all humans and getting to know something about each other is a human response. How are you doing, how is your family, what is happening in your world? It makes us feel good to know someone else is interested in who we are, and it helps us relate to one another.
Even in my personal life, I have two daughters who live in different countries; we schedule time to talk as a family. It is incredibly important that we maintain that connection even if it is a virtual one. I recommend getting a Zoom account for video conferencing, the free version is great!
More and more companies are embracing the virtual workforce, because in the current environment it is becoming a necessity. The technology we can utilize is ensuring business continuity in a way that would not have been seen 10 years ago. Millions of workers are working from home across the world. A survey taken late last year found that 82% of workers want to work from home at least once per week. Many people have had their wish granted as a result of these new circumstances. One thing is for sure; current issues around the globe are having an impact on business as usual, which will make companies reassess their policies for the future. Working from home, paid sick leave and business continuity policies may drive industries in a different direction and actually encourage the innovation we need to not only survive, but thrive in a new world.
These are interesting times. Stay calm. Be kind. Be responsible and take care of yourself and those around you. This too shall pass and there are valuable lessons to be learned from coming together as a global community.