It’s amazing how Australia has risen to the challenges posed by the pandemic. There have been some tough moments in this isolation journey, but the Australian spirit has shone through and it looks like we’ve got the upper hand. Kids are going back to school, restrictions are slowly being eased and the economy is stirring back into life.
The sudden shift to working from home has been a bit of a wild ride for a lot of people. It can be pretty tough turning your relaxation zone into a work zone, or balancing kids and clients, or trying to stop checking what’s in the fridge every two minutes. We know, we’ve been there, and we want to share how we made the transition to remote work.
Health and Safety
We wanted the Smile IT team to have home working environments that were optimised for their comfort. Lauren did a video inspection of their space and chatted to each team member about what they needed to make it more suitable. If they needed a desk, we sourced a desk for them. If their office chair was giving them back ache, we supplied them with an ergonomically-designed chair from the office.
One of our team member’s housemates was really impressed with how Smile IT handled this. Her company had basically sent her home with her laptop and told her to make do!
The Technical Side
Weeellll we’re an IT company, so this changeover came naturally to us. We started leaning heavily on Microsoft Teams for our internal communications. This software has proved indispensable as we’ll always know who’s on a break, who’s dealing with a particular client, who’s taking a call and so on. Its collaborative features have allowed our techs to seamlessly work together on projects or problems too.
We’ve continued using our CRM software, with a strong focus on following procedures to ensure everyone is on the same page. The whole ticketing system has stayed as it was, just with more communications on Microsoft Teams to distribute and delegate tasks.
All our team members computers had soft phones installed, so they’re able to connect with headsets and take calls. Everyone had to step up and answer the phone to take the pressure off our Service Coordinator Nicole. There were some slight teething problems with that, but the team soon got used to it and figured out a system.
The Team Camaraderie
We’re a very people-focussed organisation. Our team is tight-knit, we all like each other and we have a great time at work. We missed the camaraderie, the banter and the support of our crew and had to prioritise maintaining those good relations.
Every morning at 9am we have a group meeting on Microsoft Teams which we all have to attend. We give the meetings a theme, so we have something fun to talk and laugh about. There’s Motivation Monday, where Peter and Matt take us through some stretches, Tunes Tuesday, Wisdom Wednesday and Funky Friday. Then on Friday afternoons we’ll have afternoon drinks, where we all relax and have a videoconference chat while enjoying a beer or smoothie or cup of tea!
It’s not just the working from home that’s taxing on everyone’s mental health. We’re living in a strange time and it’s really overwhelming, so it can be easy to get panicked and stressed and even unmotivated.
The key for us to keep everyone in the right head space was communication. We checked in with our team regularly, encouraged them in what they were doing, found out how their family was and so on. We’ve also been transparent and clear about the company’s situation and how we’re handling things. These open and honest lines of communication have been essential to everyone’s peace of mind.
We’ve been really firm about everyone taking their breaks and encouraged them to keep doing things they love such as bushwalking or playing golf (when it was back on the cards). We also get a ‘mystery guest’ in every week to give us a presentation on something different to take our minds off things.
It’s been a big help that everyone has felt secure in their jobs, to which we owe a big debt of thanks to the JobKeeper payments from the Federal Government.
Keeping up our efficient service to our clients has been extremely important. Many of our clients are also working from home and have been very understanding if there’s been a delay in coordinating techs or something similar. The feedback from clients has been really good, as our tech team has been going over and above what they would normally do to help out. In fact the feedback on our ‘Smile Back’ customer satisfaction assessment tool is the highest it’s ever been, averaging at more than 95% positive reviews.
On the whole we don’t feel there’s been a loss in productivity at all with the move to working from home. Our team has certainly put their best foot forward to deal with the extra pressures, and we’re really proud with the team spirit everyone has showed.
We’re definitely looking forward to getting back into our normal routines and getting back to the office, but in the meantime we feel like we’ve made a great job of transitioning to remote work!
If you need any help with your IT while you’re working from home, please get in touch with us. We’ve got a team of happy techs who’d love to help you out!
When he’s not writing tech articles or turning IT startups into established and consistent managed service providers, Peter Drummond can be found kitesurfing on the Gold Coast or hanging out with his family!