With the current situation of most companies pivoting to work from home, Cognizant Softvision colleagues Robert Stoean and Vlad Carcu discussed working from home, the advantages and tips and tricks to help cope with the situation many companies all over the world are facing, in an insightful internal webinar.
“Retro cu Poetu” is the Cognizant Softvision Romania internal talk show covering relevant and various subjects in a funny and insightful way. The episodes in Romanian can be viewed online.
The webinar featured Vlad, who is from Brasov, Romania, and he loves working from home, as he’s been regularly working remotely for almost two and a half years at Cognizant Softvision. As Team Lead in Cognizant Softvision’s Coffee community, he believes he is more productive working from home. One of the reasons is that at the office there are always opportunities to get easily interrupted, with several people asking questions like each person is a mini office Google. Working remotely, you are in front of the laptop, and you are able to answer questions whenever time allows, without having to interrupt important activities.
Vlad believes that working from home is not without its challenges. For example, working from home doesn’t allow the opportunity to walk to the office, so exercise is needed in some other way. Going to the office puts employees in “business mode,” like Softvisioner Robert, the other featured webinar participant, who works out of the Bucharest studio. Working in a studio is a big contrast to getting up and walking to the desk and… that’s it.
With working from home now, for the time being at least due to COVID-19, the biggest challenge for Robert is separating working hours from personal hours in a healthy way. So, how can you avoid overworking yourself when doing your job at home? Vlad believes that in order to conclude the working day, you can close the laptop when your business day is over and put it out of sight until the next morning. Work doesn’t ever end, so you need to be organized enough to not overdo it and use flexibility to your advantage.
Another question asked is, “How do you complete your tasks with family members around?”. Vlad stated that he has a cute “roommate,” his daughter, and they both needed to get used to business hours and playing hours. So for the many working from home parents, Vlad stated that everything is manageable! Think about it this way: at work you have colleagues running around the office and at home you have your children sometimes walking in your room while you’re in the middle of something, so the situations are kind of similar.
A question for Robert was how can employees socialize while working from home? Vlad said it’s nice to go for a coffee with your colleagues at the office, but it’s also nice to socialize with your teammates on Zoom or Skype. While Robert misses the office dynamic and being present in the middle of the action, he agrees that you get used to the new ritual because socializing is socializing no matter the medium. Do whatever works for you!
Near the end of the webinar, Robert challenged Vlad and asked him what it’s like being a leader and holding interviews while working remotely. Vlad offered a very important piece of advice – open your camera to have a complete experience with teammates or candidates. Of course, technical problems are bound to happen, but nothing is irreparable – so always verify equipment before an online meeting/interview. Secondly, don’t use phones in an online interview. Perhaps some angles are not that pleasant for the interviewer and a computer would work best. Lastly, be in a silent, lighted room on a stable device and internet connection for a good experience.
Circling back to the socialization aspect, the webinar concluded with how to plan activities with colleagues if not in the same office? Our WFH Team Leader, Vlad, said to always keep in touch, reaching out to see if advice is needed or to help decide on a realistic deadline – together. Use tools that can help collaboration and share screens, frequently. Attitude is important – encouraging people and helping others instead of critiquing. It’s now an open port policy, rather than an open door policy. 🙂 As a leader, check up on colleagues more when working remotely and be an initiator so that the communication is permanent, like in an office. Creating a positive and nurturing medium is vital to successfully working remotely and by embracing the new virtual world, companies will no longer fear a virtual team environment.