Following the Government guidelines issued on Monday 16th March 2020, like many companies, KLOC immediately implemented its working from home policy and since then we have been operating as close to normal service as possible with all staff working remotely. We had previously offered our staff homeworking on an occasional basis but had never experienced the entire operation being home-based.
We have been pleasantly surprised by the results of this new situation and wanted to share how things are going for us and the impact of lockdown on our working practices, in the hope that sharing this information may help others.
We were concerned about productivity when working from home, with the stress of the situation and inevitable distractions. However, we are pleased to report that we have actually seen an overall improvement in productivity! It turns out there are less distractions at home than there are in the office and most of our employees have been able to focus better on their work during the lockdown.
We have always offered flexible working to our team but within defined parameters for start and end times each day. Now that our staff are home-based we have widened these parameters so they can work the hours that are most convenient for them, when they are feeling most productive or what fits in with childcare, without being restricted to normal office hours.
While planning for the impacts of Coronavirus, we were already confident that our use of cloud-based services for 99% of our work would enable us to keep working while social distancing. This included email, telephone switchboard, source code and project management tools, messenger chat, HR and office tools. Our confidence was justified and the transition to homeworking was more or less seamless with the only glitch being the need to access some files that were stored locally on our LAN and this was quickly overcome using remote access tools.
Like most other companies, we have also become much more reliant on collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams during the lockdown. It is fortunate that in 2020 our internet connectivity is generally so powerful. It’s hard to imagine how we would have coped if this outbreak had happened at the turn of the millennium!
With everyone working remotely, communicating well has become more important than ever. We scheduled regular update calls with our whole team as well as one-to-ones and sub-groups to ensure everyone remains informed about everything that is happening.
We have found that without the convenience of being able to chat across desks, our communications are better organised and more thought goes into our daily catchups, which has also contributed to better efficiency and productivity.
We have also found that customer conference calls on Teams or Zoom can be more effective than traditional meetings. People with minimal involvement in a meeting can tune-in while still working, while the need for more discipline by each person contributing, facilitates a more easily managed outcome.
Like many companies we have been pleasantly surprised by the upsides of homeworking and it will remain a key part of our working practices going forward. This in turn will hugely impact on how we recruit and our strategy in regard to what premises we need to operate our business.
The benefits of cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) capabilities have been proven by the agility they have given us and I’m sure that this episode will lead to the rapid demise of on-premises servers and locally hosted software solutions. This will be particularly true for organisations that have suffered difficulties accessing their solutions during the lockdown.
Online conferencing has been available for decades now but this is the first time that its use has become routine for everyone – both commercially and domestically. It would be surprising if it doesn’t remain a key tool for businesses given the efficiency it provides.
We hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe. As we mentioned, KLOC is continuing to operate with all staff working from home for now, and we are here to help if you need to improve some aspect of your solutions architecture, website or mobile app to better cope with our current situation. Contact us today if you have any ideas or requirements you would like to discuss.