Consistency amidst change – digital communications and remote working have been thrust upon us; a step in the right direction towards the ‘modern’ workplace?

A quick pick me up

Ober-Ramstadt These photographs of newly turned out dairy cows cheered me last week – a sign of consistency amidst all of the abrupt change that we are encountering at present. I suspect that turnout is also a relief for farmers after a very wet winter with its extensive flooding in this part of the northern hemisphere. Thank you to my colleague Georgia for spotting the cows and taking the photo.

Communication in the workplace Life-long habits of meeting people are suddenly a thing of the past, and online communication has taken over as a viable means of communication in places that are “locked down”.  It goes against every thread of our human nature to not be close to other people, but alas we adapt. At RRL we are fortunate that some of our workforce have been able to work remotely, so to reduce staff numbers onsite and allow those necessary for business to work within the social distancing guidelines. Other companies have not been so lucky. This has not been any easy step, being a company which relies heavily on teamwork collaboration, but one which we have encountered pretty well. 

accutane order online from canada It has been more difficult to replace those “big marketing meetings”; agricultural shows where we were planning to exhibit this year. We had already taken to Twitter (@p4tests@ridgewayres), Facebook (@ridgewayresearch, @p4rapidtests) and LinkedIn as part of our marketing campaign. Like other organisations, agricultural shows appear to be exploring the possibility of becoming virtual – I’m grateful to the friend who sent me this link as a potential alternative marketing opportunity that we’ll be exploring. Moving to more online working however  has shone a light on the existence of two populations at work: those for whom social media and technology was a part of life and those for whom it was a new challenge. I’m still uncertain whether to take the title “hashtagqueen” as a compliment as I endeavoured to understand and put them to use, or a label given when a lack of competency was apparent! 

We have endeavoured to find a way around the obstacles in the way of communication, and have opted to use platforms such as ZoomMicrosoft teams or Skype. These platforms have eased us into remote working whilst still allowing us to see each other and conduct a meeting as normal (as can be!). Whilst the transition has been easy for some tech-whiz staff members, it has been a hard transition for others. However throughout we have had a strong sense of camaraderie and a “we can do it” attitude, which has been great for morale. Nonetheless we are still fighting our way through all of this, solving one problem to encounter the next and really can’t wait to be back to business as normal with our team back together.

However hard it has been for our workplace to adapt to this digital working environment, maybe this is a good thing and has given us all the kick-start we needed to move towards a more streamlined and efficient ay of working. Is this a big leap in the right direction? Technology is the future, after all and to coin another phrase, time will tell!

Communication at home

The slower pace at present may be an opportunity for all of us to improve our IT skills – these training resources seem to be a reasonable starting place. Similarly to the workplace and perhaps more importantly, it has been a whirlwind for families to stay in touch amidst social distancing. What a great world we live in, that we are still able to see and converse with our loved ones. Technology is often berated for its flaws but right now what an asset it is to our society. We are the lucky ones.

Almost exactly a year ago I suddenly lost my sister following an accident. In the intervening time our family have explored various activities and resources to help us to continue with hope and consistency despite the circumstances. Now, a year on, like most of the world, we are facing another major challenge but take comfort in being able to connect with one another. Another benefit of the internet is its ability to offer resources to support mental and physical health as we weather this storm. I’ll be exploring this resource for mental health at work.  We encourage anybody struggling with the current circumstances whether in the workplace or at home, to reach out and get help. We will be sure to provide this support to staff and loved ones during this time. Stay safe and keep connected.