Whatever UK businesses were prepared for in 2020, it’s safe to say a worldwide pandemic wasn’t at the top of the list.
With workers forced to take their jobs inside and online, March saw business upheaval on an unprecedented, unpredictable scale.
It was no different for us here at Mirus. While we’ve more than enough experience with business continuity and connectivity, we’d never been forced to uproot the business on such short notice, nor on such grand a scale; even The Great Mirus Flood of 2018 didn’t come so close. But uproot we did, and within 24 hours, the entire 100+ MTeam was working from the picturesque compartments of their kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms.
9 weeks on (we think – time’s become something of a blur!), we’re fast settling into the new normal; keeping business consistent, staying in touch and maintaining that same sense of camaraderie we’ve always had. Yet we’ve also discovered some new ways of working that have truly benefitted the business – and might also benefit your own.
Keeping in Touch
First of all, we’ve taken more than our work home with us – we’ve taken our conversations too. Whether our users are living alone, with loved one or with dependants, we’ve come to understand just how important it is to interact. It’s safe to say our Microsoft Teams has been used for more than just work conversations; we’ve met up online regularly for social interactions, organised our weekly Friday quiz over Teams, and even mimicked our mid-morning coffee breaks with regular video calls. If we’ve learned anything from our regular online chats, it’s that not everyone is working to the same conditions, but keeping connected has made us united in the workplace nonetheless, and a friendly or sympathetic face can make all the difference to our day.
Taking Some Time Out
It’s frustrating spending so much time inside, not least with the glorious May sunshine, so we’ve been leaping at the chance to take a walk during our afternoon lunch break. It takes little more than a half-hour walk every day to maintain good cardiovascular and pulmonary health, lower the risk of heart disease, and manage conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, so there’s nothing to be lost by taking a short traipse at lunch. But don’t doubt what a good walk can do for your mental health, either; it aids sleep quality, raises your mood, releases endorphins and can help manage stress and anxiety. Set time aside for your team to self-heal; they’ll likely make the time back in productivity alone.
As you might imagine, our workloads are a little different from our typical working day. Of course, we’re all still working tirelessly to keep business on track and remote, but those quieter periods are the perfect excuse to squeeze in some on-the-job training.
Training remains the modern workplace’s most highly-demanded benefit, and with so many clients relying on us to keep systems running smoothly, it’s never been a more appropriate time to upskill. Don’t overlook the opportunity to educate yourself or your staff; not only will they reap the benefits, but your clients will too.
Learning New Software
It’s no stretch to imagine a few of our clients getting familiar with new or previously underutilised software this past month. Microsoft Teams, for example, has witnessed unprecedented uptake since the quarantine began, most likely for its extensive communicative abilities and its cloud-powered collaborative functions. For many, the software has been nothing less than a lifesaver, but as its use continues, so too does a business’s familiarity with the software. Far from limiting our capabilities, the lockdown might instead introduce us to all-new ways of working.
Let’s be honest – this whole situation is hardly a barrel of fun. But don’t think of group activities as frivolous distractions; if anything, there’s no greater need for great company morale as there is right now. The Mirus Sales and Marketing teams have a dedicated quiz every Friday, hosted over Microsoft Teams. Our partners over at IT Lab run regular morning workout for workers and their families – including special programmes for younger participants. Give your users something to look forward to, and their home working situation might not seem so intrusive.
However much longer this lockdown goes on for – or indeed, what the world will be like upon our return to normality - it’s never too late to explore ways to boost morale, increase productivity and learn new skills. If anything, now could be the perfect time.
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