Microsoft Teams, or even just "Teams" has become a byword for, "can we have a chat" or "lets have a meeting" over the last year. If any organisation has had an insight in to some of the trends, positive and negative, to emerge from a year like no other for remote working, it is Microsoft.
Many themes have been discussed time and again. Not having the rush of the commute every morning, and evening, the stress avoided and money saved is not insignificant! There is increased potential for healthier work life balance, as well as satisfaction from more autonomy leading in many cases to increased productivity.
There are the negatives of course. Often the lack of distinction between work place and home leads to people working much longer hours than they normally would, many feel isolated and in some cases where there is a lack of communication from leaders - feeling unappreciated, people lose sight of their purpose and motivation.
However, one effect I hadn't considered before is that of remote working on authenticity. Its an interesting idea. As this report mentions, we are often encouraged to bring our "authentic self" to work, and into the work we do, but its easier said than done when you have to also present a professional front!
This article highlights how a sense of comradery has been born out of this shared experience. How it has been in many ways so much easier to give our colleagues an insight in to who we are, often unavoidable as dogs bark, children interrupt or deliveries turn up unannounced. All of these incidents cause us to drop our guard a little.
Our MD wrote last week about how we at Collingwood have used our time meeting virtually to learn more about each other. From the stories of randomly meeting celebrities and sporting idols, to what we wanted to be when we were younger. All of this means when we do finally get to meet up in person again, we come to it perhaps knowing each other better, or in a different way to how we did before, and perhaps also with more understanding of the life behind the people we spend so much time with.
“Before the pandemic, we encouraged people to ‘bring their whole self to work,’ but it was tough to truly empower them to do that. The shared vulnerability of this time has given us a huge opportunity to bring real authenticity to company culture and transform work for the better.”