The Gaia Resources team have been working from home since mid-March (see our initial two blogs). As part of this, we have been changing the ways in which we communicate and in which we work (not just with each other, but also with our clients and in delivering services like training).
It certainly has helped to be part of a great team that are all approaching this all with a “can do” attitude, a good sense of humour and a lot of care and consideration for each other (which I also recently mentioned in an interview with our Perth office hosts, Spacecubed).
We’ve also been doing the best we can to maintain the mental health and productivity of our staff. Some of the things that we’ve implemented internally have included:
- taking our previous team meeting and duplicating it, creating one that is about Projects and one that is about People,
- making time to support our new starters – some of whom we haven’t met face to face yet!
- adding in space for morning virtual “coffee meetings” that our team are actively engaging in,
- converting our Friday drinks to virtual drinks,
- testing out virtual training facilities using Google Classroom and other related technologies,
- adding in polls every day about how we’re feeling and how productive we’re being, and
- spicing things up with a few different events and things as we go (like our recent Metrogaine event).
The numbers we’ve been tracking in our team polls have really helped us to work out what we needed to do to support our teams better. For example, after the Easter long weekend, some sort of malaise set into the company and a lot of people struggled to be productive; so we talked it through and the next week we had a session specifically aiming at finding ways that people get out of a “productivity rut”, which was really useful – and our productivity spiked back up again.
Daily polling of people’s perception about working from home (Positive/Negative), and their productivity (More, the same, or Less than usual) has given us ways to see how things are tracking, and respond quickly
It’s not all about the numbers though.
While (being the scientists and engineers we are) we do capture data on and report back to the team about in all of our team meetings very transparently, this is not the be-all and end-all of how we’re going as a team. That also plays out in what we hear from our clients, and collaborators about how we’re working – and it’s been very heartening to hear from our clients that they’re still seeing us deliver high-quality work across a range of different projects.
Unfortunately, a lot of what is going on around this “coronavirus situation” that is impacting people has nothing to do with work – it’s other things you can’t currently do in your personal lives. So we’re focusing on what we can do in the work environment, and we are all doing little things to try to make sure that people aren’t isolated, blocked, or spiralling into a bad place – as well as a few little gestures such as things that are turning up in the mail here and there from people to each other (usually with some sort of cryptic clue as to who the anonymous poster was).
We have also been talking about “the way forward” as a team – not a “return”, as we want to take the advantage to move in new directions as well. In our recent People team meeting, we asked what everyone wanted the new way of working to look like, and got a lot of positive feedback about some of the initiatives we were now doing, and some of the things that the team wanted to keep doing, such as:
- keeping the working from home for some part of the week,
- maintaining the double team meeting approach, with the two separate themes of Projects and People, and
- keeping social distancing and isolation around illness (as we’ve had waves of “Gaia-bola” run through the Perth office in the past few years).
The ‘new way forward’ for us is filled with some promise and some really valuable learnings, and we’ll talk more about that in due course.
For now, please feel free to reach out to me or the team if there is anything we can do to assist you – even if it’s just for a chat about how you are going. You can reach out to us on email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a video chat, via phone (08 92277309 in Perth, 07 3063 0418 in Brisbane and 0491 205 462 in Darwin), or by starting a conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
There’s still a way to go before ‘the new way forward’ is implemented, but in the meantime, we hope that you, your colleagues and your families can all stay safe, healthy and happy in these trying times.