Working remotely - holiday party on Teams
 /  Craig Slack

Reflecting on 5 Lessons Learned During a Year of Working Remotely

It’s interesting how social media reminds you periodically of things from your past. Just a couple days ago, a post I wrote exactly a year ago called “What is Your Company Doing and Are You Prepared For the Impacts of COVID-19” popped up in my feed. It was interesting to read it again after living and working with the pandemic for the last twelve months.

What have we learned over the last year?

Simply put … a lot! The unknown unknowns that I spoke about in that post so long ago could have been scary to many. depending on what you thought might happen, but in the same respect the reality likely wasn’t as scary as your imagination conjured up. The reality was somewhere in between. There were people talking about this leading to an apocalypses, which drove people to hoard toilet paper and other “essential” supplies, but in the end those people probably still have years worth of supplies because the supply chain was able to adjust and catch back up to demand. Lesson #1: Don’t believe the media hype.

One thing that we probably under estimated was the impact on mental health. Some people who live alone have gone a very long time without physically being around others and experiencing social interactions that we as humans thrive on. I count myself as very lucky to have a family of five kids and an amazing wife, and although we did manage to get our social interactions with each other, it was not all roses. We did have some family meltdowns and we had run-ins with our kids that prior to COVID would never have happened. It was not easy, but we did get through it. Lesson #2: This too shall pass.

Technology helped us stay connected

Who knew that we would crave social interactions so much with friends and family that we would find creative ways to stay connected. We setup regular Zoom and Microsoft Teams calls with friends and families to stay connected. We even did virtual games nights with friends, including card and dice games with physical dice (not just virtual games) … we had to get creative. It was amazing to see how quickly everyone adapted, but something is still missing from those interactions. Lesson #3: The human race is very resilient.

Technology also helped companies continue to operate and adapt processes to a virtual world. Thankfully our company was born in the cloud, so we literally didn’t skip a beat in terms of how we operate. In fact, before COVID we had staff literally sitting beside each other attending the same Teams meeting. However, the one thing that was lacking was the spontaneous conversations that naturally occur in the office or going out for lunch or drinks with colleagues. We tried to keep that spirit alive with virtual happy hours on Fridays and we even did a fun virtual Christmas party that included a gingerbread house contest. Lesson #4: Find ways to have fun even when things seem difficult.

We did virtual team Pictionary and even a gingerbread house making competition. One of the lessons learned and a remote work tip is to find ways to have fun even when things are difficult.

Don’t forget that not everyone was so lucky

I must say that we are among the lucky ones because so many people did not come through the pandemic as well (or even at all). There were scores of people who lost their lives to COVID-19, even more people lost their jobs and businesses went under. I am very thankful and grateful for our customers and the fact that we’re working in an industry that is still in demand during this pandemic. Lesson #5: Be thankful for every day that we have on this precious planet and give back to those around you.

So what’s next?

We are a technology and digital transformation company, so I always have the technology lens on. There are so many opportunities to change how businesses operate and to digitally transform using the power of cloud technologies to modernize .

It’s worth repeating what I said in the original post a year ago, which is that we want to give back to you by offering free services to help your company to adapt to the new normal that we live in, especially because it looks like remote work is here to stay.

Over the last year we have helped numerous companies implement Modern Workplace solutions leveraging Microsoft 365 and Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) for collaboration or to keep their teams connected. We also helped companies modernize their data centers by migrating them to Microsoft Azure so they didn’t need to have people physically in the office/data center to deal with physical servers.

If you would like to understand how we might be able to help you enable or enhance the capabilities of your remote workforce, please contact us.