The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need – and importance– for innovation.
In just a matter of days, companies had to find quick solutions to continue operations, access critical information, and ensure employee safety and wellness all while working remotely.
For Neil Forbes, Quickbase’s Vice President of Customer Success, while coronavirus has put a strain on a lot of our normal life, innovation came relatively easy. For example, since Quickbase already had many employees working remotely, we were well equipped to get up and running quickly.
But there are still challenges ahead. So, as we continue to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic for the foreseeable future, Forbes offered some suggestions as to how best make it through this difficult time.
Change the Way You Work
Prior to the outbreak, many companies had basic infrastructure in place to accommodate some remote work. However, when companies across nearly all industries pivoted to working remotely, the ways in which we prioritized work and collaborated across teams had to quickly adapt.
Forbes noted that, at Quickbase, interactions between customer service managers and back end systems were streamlined so that both parties could use their time more efficiently.
“You get a feeling for which processes are working and which ones aren’t really, really quickly,” he said. “The change has largely been a forcing mechanism for us to get stronger.”
This pandemic highlighted that companies needed to be agile in order to quickly respond to new and unprecedented challenges. There was a greater need for solutions that Quickbase offers in order to rapidly provide value, keep operations going, and be adaptable in a constantly changing environment.
For example, Forbes team had been working with a manufacturing company in the Midwest that build electric drive engines and trying to meet with the company’s IT department.
Once coronavirus hit, the conversations changed. They need quick solutions, like quickly automating new workflows, which Quickbase could deliver.
“We started having very robust conversations with folks that we had never met over there,” Forbes said.
Breaks are Important – and Necessary
For Forbes, his prior experience with difficult situations while serving in the United States Army and a good support system have been key to a smooth adjustment to the current environment.
If you and your partner are both working from home, try to alter your work hours so that you can take turns taking care of the children if possible, he suggested.
It’s also important to take a break from work and the news to relax sometimes. If you can get outside or go for a drive, you may feel refreshed and renewed. This can make all the difference in being an effective employee.
He also said employees should feel comfortable to ask for help when you need it. As a manager, Forbes said it was also important to offer assistance to employees as necessary.
Empathy is Key
During times of uncertainty, even if employees are physically separated, remember that everybody is in this altogether.
The biggest thing a company can have is empathy – up, down, and across their organization. School and daycare closures have led to parents and children being stuck at home together. Adults may have to simultaneously work at home and take care of children. It is not uncommon to now hear babies crying or children playing while on Zoom meetings for work. And as schools have to adjust to adhere to social distance guidelines in the fall, this may be the new normal.
“It’s kind of like a great equalizer, everyone is in it together,” Forbes said. “One of the benefits of this difficult experience will be people finding more common ground or just becoming a tighter knit piece of their community.”
While the pandemic may be a time of stress, it is also a time for opportunity, he said. Take advantage of the new resources available to you to make remote work go smoothly for your company and also for you personally.