Reflections of lockdown

Jo Faint1 March 2021
Closed sign in a shop or cafe window

The way that we work has changed. The historic view of working from home being something that was only done when you had a plumber coming or an appointment that required you to, has moved on. As I reflect on 2020, there are many lessons that we can learn and take forward into our future way of working and use those positives to ensure that we continue to deliver and thrive as a Digital function.

We can use technology to enable us to be more productive

There are a number of ways that Covéa Digital has used technology during this time to allow us to be productive at home (some are more successful than others!); from an increase in collaboration and chat tools, to functionality to approve invoices via workflow rather than paper copies and relying on printers in the offices. Covéa Digital has had to adapt and move with the changing working environment.

Location barriers can be removed

There’s nothing like being the only one on the end of a video call. Dialling into a workshop where the rest of the attendees are gathered in person, but you are on the laptop on a chair and spun round to see what is going on. However lockdown has meant we are all in the same boat, we are all on video or remote and there isn’t the feeling of missing out if you are unable to travel. Using the technology available, we can whiteboard on the screen and collaborate effectively.

Everyone has their own stuff going on

It’s happened to all of us. The dog barking at the postman, the children running through the background of a video call (or in my case, builders next door drilling for what seemed like an eternity). The patience and respect of colleagues for each other and their own circumstances is something I am proud of. Something we should ensure remains in the future. We may not be in the same position, but everyone will have their own personal circumstances that should be respected. We should be flexible around circumstances for everyone and focus on output, not time at desks.

We can still deliver

Covéa Digital has delivered a lot in 2020, some of which was not in the plan. Mobilising all staff to work from home was a challenge and done in a short period of time, something which has been achieved alongside many other business initiatives and key strategic priorities.

We support each other

Working at home can lead to you feeling quite isolated, especially on your own. Teams across the business have supported each other, making the best of what we can. Whether this is a morning stand-up to ensure everyone is ok, a video call for a Friday evening social, supporting each other with home schooling or just some chat about hobbies or common interests on our variety of Slack channels – we have created some communities which I hope will continue.

Thinking back to 2019, I was travelling monthly (sometimes weekly) from Reading to the Halifax office. 5am starts, long journeys (11 hours was a record) to attend meetings with those that I work closely with. Our lessons of lockdown can enable us to be more productive and use our time more effectively, and use technology as an enabler to do so.

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