When the first wave of Covid-19 hit Hong Kong in early 2020 none of us knew how far this pandemic would spread and how long it would take us to come out of it. It has been over 27 months are we are nowhere close to declaring victory over Covid. Having lived through SARS in Hong Kong in 2003 I expected Covid to blow over in 6-8 weeks. I was terribly wrong as I underestimated complexity of our connected world to spread it across the globe like a rapid fire. Living through the Covid-19 crisis has been a great teacher on quite a few aspects of life and work. As a leader of a high-performance team, I needed to make some quick decisions when the Covid hit Hong Kong in 2020. We switched to WFH even when WHO was say it is not contagious and there is no need to wear masks. We followed some very simple protocols and I classify them as 5Ts: Trust, Transparency, Tasks, Thoughtfulness and Technology.
Trust: It was the biggest driver in our remote working model. It has been 27 months and we never asked a single employee to switch on the camera to show where they were or what they were doing. We trusted our teammates to do their tasks with the same dedication that they would otherwise do in an office scenario.
Transparency: We communicated with utmost level of transparency regarding working policies, business challenges, government guidelines and the welfare policies. We made sure that every job was protected and tried our best to provide reassurance.
Tasks: One key element of our strategy was to be task oriented rather than time oriented. It meant that we outlined the tasks and associated delivery schedule and worked hard to ensure that we delivered ahead of the schedule. We created flexibility in working schedules as long as the team members were aware and adequately connected through the day.
Thoughtfulness: We rewired our team members to be thoughtful about physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Our teammates were thoughtful and appreciative of each other’s challenges and as a result provided better support.
Technology: Being a tech savvy organization we all were already using laptops. We accelerated our usage of cloud, various collaboration technologies, security protocols to ensure that the technology enabled us to deliver seamless service to our clients.
In my opinion organizations have changed forever and even though there are increasing number of people returning to workplaces, the hybrid model of working will continue for a long time to come.