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Venquis – a full on digital business

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Samah Alnashi Agile, Recruitment outsourcing, Technology...

Who would’ve thought that by 2020 we are forced into a situation to turn our work and life completely remote?  

Companies like Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Hitachi, Apple, Amazon and many more have rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies due to the spread of Covid-19. We can safely assume for the next coming weeks the shift from the normal office to the “home office” will become the new norm for many of us.  

What does this actually mean? Whilst technology is at the forefront of many of our jobs, schools and other businesses, it can still mean that many are working from home for the first time. At Venquis we’d already created an anytime, anywhere platform for our employees as we expanded across Europe and beyond. So the transition for us has not been technologically challenging, more emotionally challenging. Keep reading and we will share some ways we’ve tackled this...  

At Venquis we like to crank up the communication 

Coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is clear communication with your leaders, and team, and a clear set of expectations nailed down. Most people spend their days in close proximity to their boss, meaning communication is easy and effortless. But that’s all out the window with remote work, and continuous communication is even more necessary during those times. Tools such as Skype for business, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp are a few of the channels we use to optimise efficient communication with our employees.  

This type of communication is extended beyond our internal parameters for digital interviews, digital client meetings and phone calls which have now turned into Facetime and Skype catch-ups with clients and candidates across Europe. For each of our teams the day still starts with an 8am scrum, the only difference is it’s digitally. We still do yoga every Tuesday lunchtime as that’s moved online, and last Friday we had a company-wide sales meeting and ended with a quiz – there were over 60 people online from across our European offices. 

‘Treat it like a real job’ 

Treating it like a real job is when you get up, as usual, eat your breakfast (or don’t), get dressed and get to work. Do not lounge around in your sweats or pyjamas – it makes it less productive and harder to focus. At Venquis, we have a ‘fit for work’ program that encourages an active lifestyle, so we are posting photos of our daily exercise as an encouragement to one another, whether it’s a walk or cycle, doing yoga from your living rooms, or doing an online workout video. The runners amongst us are all on Strava and there are prizes for the most improved, and fastest, 5k run. Basically, we aim to make working from home just as important and as productive as the office.  

This also serves as an important signal to those who live with you that you are in fact “at work”. With a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate, it becomes easier to unlock the benefits of remote work. In a survey of 7,000 workers last year by FlexJobs, 65% said they’re more productive working from home, citing benefits like fewer interruptions from colleagues, minimal office politics and reduced stress from commuting. 

Honesty in difficult situations keeps the spirits up 

We would also like to be honest and mention the challenges that come with working from home, because despite all these tools, the enforced and abrupt transition from an office to a home environment, could leave a few of us struggling to get accustomed to the change.  

“The coronavirus is pushing everyone into this kind of extreme working from home,” says Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University in California who’s given TED Talks about remote work. Nicholas touches on the fact that there are two types of working from home, 1. short-term/occasional work from home or 2. permanent or full-time work from home. These two scenarios can be compared to as “kind of like comparing light exercise to marathon training,” he says. 

How do we tackle this sort of issue? Well, being realistic about the situation is a start. However, the most important one that we at Venquis hold on to strongly, is positivity, encouraging messages and inspirational stories about the candidates and clients we work with. We’re in constant contact with people looking for a new contract or permanent role, providing advice around their career, the new remote ways of hiring and the market. And we’re inspired by positive stories from businesses which are taking advantage of the market by hiring highly-skilled, immediately available people. That keeps the momentum going for the team and the communication at a high level.  

We also suggest teams try to sustain a sense of normalcy, and what better way to do that than with virtual pizza parties or remote happy hour where people dial in through Skype?  

Manage expectations and remembering to be more accepting 

One of our Team Leaders shared her story of how she had to adjust and accept working from home. She shares a flat with a few friends and each of them have a way of working. At our office, Kristy is used to a busy office with lots of noise from different phone calls and even music in the background. She realised that she had to work with a brand-new team and set and adapt to new ways of working from scratch. It is safe to say that many of us will experience this whether it’s with roommates or your kids or your partner and the approach is to manage the expectations in the house and adjust, adapt and accept.

Please do get in touch if you need any help or advice, as we are here to support you in any way we can.