Virtual muscles, sensorial senses and superior coffee – the WEMC Team share their pandemic working perspectives
In only a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has upended the daily lives of many people around the world. With no exception the WEMC team had to adapt to the new environment after the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Will the COVID-19 pandemic impact the way we work for good?
The WEMC Team share their perspectives during these challenging times.
When asked What are the challenges of remote working? William Boyer our WEMC Junior Software Developer cited how it can become difficult to compartmentalise working life from personal life.
“You can lose that ease of communication you’d usually get from all being in the same office,” he added.
A common theme amongst the team was missing face-to-face interactions. Laurent Dubus, WEMC Founder and Services Director, is based in France and used to working with the WEMC team remotely but was frustrated to miss out on personal interactions: “The pandemic situation prevented me from spending my usual annual week in Norwich with the team and seeing them at regular workshops and conferences we normally attend. This is frustrating, as these occasions allow more personal interactions.”
Similarly, WEMC Founder and MD, Alberto Troccoli has been using teleconferencing for many years however he recognised:
“What COVID-19 has done is to make it more challenging to have those engaging, often serendipitous, conversations with staff, collaborators or investors. It is still possible to have these conversation via phone or online, but the warm feeling and visual contact of face-to-face interactions are very hard, if not impossible, to replace. On the other hand, this new way of working has forced me to sharpen my sensorial senses, particularly the sixth one! And of course, there is a great satisfaction in knowing that we can have these conversations at a fraction of the cost and, importantly, of the pollution, which is in line with the core values of WEMC!”
Laurent Dubus also agreed that the team’s ability to adapt and rethink practices had indeed had positive impacts: “The main one being, hopefully, a significant reduction in travelling and associated CO2 emissions.”
WEMC Project Manager, Janice Ogonji has found environmental positives in working remotely: “My commute involved driving over 50 miles per day, so I have saved both money and the environment during this time. I’ve also been able to design my ideal workspace at home and achieve higher levels of productivity.”
We asked Elena Bertocco, WEMC Branding and Design Lead: What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before the coronavirus pandemic?
“The last six months have had a technological love and hate revolution on my workflow. I have become more patient when learning about new tools such as Creative Cloud for Teams and Slack and engaging with them, because I had to do it. I think those best practices will live on. We’re all developing new muscles to work virtually.”
Our UK-based WEMC Data Engineer, Luke Sanger said the pandemic had not so much influenced how he works but the environment. He now enjoys superior coffee from home and has built-in regular exercise, running every other morning.
Lucy Haughey, who joined WEMC as our new Communications Officer in May, was asked: How do you stay connected with your colleagues?
“I initially found all the options to communicate electronically daunting; Slack and Trello were both new to me. I have learnt though that it is good to understand what channel works best for each of your colleagues and go with that; within a team of seven this is achievable. Our fortnightly team meetings on Zoom now include time for informal chat which is helping me get to know the team better too.”
A tentative return to the WEMC office, based at one of the UK’s greenest buildings, The Enterprise Centre at the UEA in Norwich, has just started for the WEMC Team so Lucy is hoping to meet some of her colleagues in person very soon. All the team are poised to support new joiners, with everything they have learnt, in the months ahead too.
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WEMC Members can exclusively apply to have a guest blog published and share their pandemic learnings or project progress.