Work Notes #10

Extraordinary times. Last Sunday, my company introduced the home office for most of the newsroom. And it’s been a challenge.

Nothing was business as usual. In a shortly announced call, we were told to stay home and work remotely. Personally, I was comfortable with the new work environment. However, the intern and a new employee in my team are not quite ready to work as independently as necessary in this situation. 

As a leader, the home office raises a variety of challenges: How do I keep my team engaged? How can I check in with them regularly?

The first thing I did was to introduce daily check-in calls with the team. They’re just quick updates to get everyone up to speed.

After the first day, I realized that I was working late. So on Tuesday, I urged my team to write in Slack if they’re calling it a day. Everyone has to know that someone’s off duty.

Home Office
Home Office.

The Coronavirus brings a lot of uncertainty along. We don’t know for how long the company will continue the home office policy. The government is introducing even stricter rules now. We’re in the middle of an enormous development, a change process. The critical mindset here’s flexibility. We have to be patient and stay open-minded about new ways of working and collaboration. As always, I’ll see this situation, this change as an opportunity. I want to learn as much as possible from this experience.

I made some interesting observations: Meetings became more efficient because no one likes to stay in endless calls. People are finally joining Slack, and overall the messages sent went up significantly.

It’s exciting and concerning at the same time. Although I’m usually an optimistic person, I canceled my flight to London. Therefore, I cannot attend the campus days at Hyper Island physically but remotely.
It’s a different experience, and after one day, I can say: I’d rather have the on-site experience. It’s not a lot of fun or even engaging to sit in a video call the whole day. However, I’m happy that Hyper Island is trying to deliver a great experience even though they didn’t have a lot of preparation time.

This week, I learned (again)…

  • …that I’m more efficient in the home office. However, as a leader, I miss the social interactions and discussions with the team members.
  • …that in times of uncertainty, I have to get feedback even more regularly to take appropriate actions. It’s now the perfect time for reflection on how my team and I are working together as well as individually.