Remote teams and digital experiences

Patricia Barata
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Life has changed radically in the past few months. We’ve been forced to recalibrate our lives, our habits, and the speed at which we live, interact, consume, think, and feel.

In a rapidly changing environment, adaptability is key to create new outcomes. It’s worth reflecting on at least one positive development that has emerged: the continuing rise of virtual interactions and online businesses' response to it. “If you cannot go outside, go inwards” - this applies for finding different ways of working personally and professionally.

The vast majority of businesses and employees have had to evolve creativity, intuitively, and mostly on reshaping old patterns and this is especially the case in the B2B eCommerce industry. Are we aligned as an organisation? Do we have the right technology in place? Are we providing a quality digital experience for our customers?

We asked some of our team members how they approached the last few months during COVID-19 (although we have remote teams across Ireland, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Scotland and the UK pre-pandemic) and provide some highlights of what has been working well.

Highlights from the Monsooners:

  • Team catchup daily calls: A video call every morning with the team to share brief updates, ideas, and problems encountered.
     
  • The use of the right tools: Our main chat tool Slack has become more heavily relied on for quick communication, while other tools are used for project or people management. Flash talks, idea sharing and collaboration on a centralised platform and for shared documents has been key.
     
  • Weekly calls with the client: Keeping regular lines of communication open with our clients to keep up to date with their priorities, struggles, goals and general feedback on our service.
     
  • Eye to eye contact with people: Sometimes it’s just better enabling camera on calls. It is important as it gives us more ways to understand people better and having that visual human interaction behind a machine.
     
  • Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone/create a virtual meeting: For some this comes naturally as communication is their strength, for others this might seem daunting. Coaching team members to be more comfortable speaking on the phone, by getting on zoom calls amongst colleagues, training on keeping discussions brief and useful, will build confidence and experience. 
     
  • Creative makeshift workstations: Personalised work from home environments can help to make us feel not only comfortable but inspire us.
     
  • Support new processes: This is the time to be adaptive and take a fresh look at how we work. Implementing or improving processes to remove redundant tasks, and move to a more structured/organised operation. 
     
  • Being proactive with our clients: By shifting from being reactive to proactive it's an exercise that proves to be positive in the long run.
     
  • Productivity and interruptions: Managing personal space can be a challenge when you are always available virtually, but this is also the case when interrupted at your desk. Scheduling, transparency of internal processes and patience is the key element to regulating the hustle and bustle of daily working life.
     
  • More evidence-driven: We have more opportunities now to evaluate how we work and evaluate the work we have done as a result of the tools we’re using, retrospectives and the need to be flexible. Prioritise different features based on data, which is based on feedback, testing and research. 
     
  • Kids are back to “Test & learn” culture: Acknowledging that we may be wrong is the first step to tame an ego. This is how learning is embraced, from each other.
     

While we all miss the office camaraderie and the social element as that’s what makes us humans after all (well, we are mammals), in general working remotely opens up space to trust, to hidden talents, and more freedom all while still having the daily work tasks under control. Being distributed but also being ‘together’ takes practice and builds wisdom but it gives great work-life balance opportunities, diversity of language and culture (that Monsoon Consulting is proud of since Day 1).

While the world is trying to understand the ongoing impact of the COVID-19, the reality is the world is understanding even more the importance of digital experiences. It has become more important to our clients to have a digital customer experience that meets their expectations and the user needs, responding ethically and bravely. We are here to help each other for better interactions and experiences.

 

About Monsoon Consulting

Monsoon Consulting is an award-winning full-service digital agency which focuses on creating eCommerce solutions on the Magento platform, as well as content management on Drupal platforms. We offer an end-to-end service, with expert developers, product owner’s, UX designers, and support services.

Monsoon Consulting has been taking proactive steps and initiatives to help our clients respond to the current crisis so that their businesses can re-distribute their efforts and operations to service customers and companies online where possible.

For more information on how Monsoon Consulting can help your business online, please get in touch with alastair.brodie@monsoonconsulting.com or call +353 (0)1 4750066


 

Patricia Barata Profile Picture

Patricia Barata,

UI / UX Designer