Hristo Borissov, CEO, ARS Bulgaria: Tackling Work and Life in the Era of COVID-19

With COVID -19 imposing different stages of lockdown across the globe, and many of us working from home, decided to share some personal experience in this new set up of caring duties.

It has been a full week of a mainly home office for all of us. I got stuck in a country lockdown 1300 km away from my team, staying in touch and providing continuous support to team and clients online. We are lucky being part of industry that can use the benefits of home office.

Few annotations on managing teams remotely by far:

Daily calls

We have a regular morning call over a cup of coffee with all the company members. A short video conference of 10 min to share developments, see if anyone needs some kind of support and overall pulse check of work mood, “how to help colleague to help a client” became more relevant than ever.

Keep the people moral high

Although many of us have been requesting more home office when possible, it became apparent now that longer stay at home under the stress of threatening disease and forced lockdown has its negative impact as well. People are social animals and need personal contact. We have created a company separate “fun chat room” where colleagues share fun stories, jokes, etc. They have been sharing and offering personal help to each other. Stay home stay together!

Create robust task agenda

Every team and team member have outlined their imminent tasks and report progress on daily fashion to direct manager. This helps to give teams additional focus in what seems could be a challenging new working environment at home, surrounded by family members, pets, neighbors.

Office Hygiene

Equally important at company operations and personal level. Colleagues needing to visit office are obliged to follow strict hygiene rules i.e. using protection face masks, hands disinfectants available at the office entrance, keep reasonable low number of people in office at same time so to give enough distance between people, regular ventilation of rooms trough opening the windows, common kitchenette has been closed down, among others.

Created Separate chat room for scheduling shifts at office and other fully office related tasks, in order to facilitate communication and efficiency of our virtual team.

Infrastructure

Making all your IT systems and data remotely accessible is vital in this situation. Mobile devices like laptops, iPads, mobile phones with good data monthly plans. Unfortunately this comes with being prepared a bit in advance… today we see it pays off well.
I heard of companies suddenly finding themselves in situation to order 300-400 laptops urgently!

Courier companies, have proved to provide the invaluable support in securing continuous delivery of paper docs to clients.

Physical status

No need to convince anyone that health and immune resilience in situations like this is important, not only to fight possible inflammation but also to keep mind cool and clear. Do not forget to stretch between telecons. Colleagues have shared creative ways of working out at home.

Toilet Paper – short engagement survey among employees shows that TP is not among top surviving essentials by far! 😄

Happy to report we are fully operational and servicing client in full swing!

Big time thanks to all colleagues for their efforts to make this working!

Stay safe,
Hristo