While many of you have looked to our blog for tips, expert perspectives and best practices, this blog will focus more on Kiefer’s second full week of remote work. Before COVID-19, studies indicated that remote work was on the rise in the US. According to the Federal Reserve, the share of the labor force that works from home tripled in the past 15 years. But, it’s very clear that we would have never expected to be thrust into working from home, exclusively, with so little warning.
We have all the tools in place to support remote work, so when we closed our offices last week, we all knew what to do. Now, Kiefer employees are spread-out all-over Sacramento county working from kitchen counters, home offices, and dining room tables.
Having the Right Tools for Remote Work
The tools we use are the same tools we use to communicate and collaborate in the office and with clients. We are a Microsoft shop and a Microsoft Gold Partner, so we rely heavily on the tools that enable the Modern Workplace. With that said, we also work collaboratively in the office and the shift in remote work has the entire Kiefer team using Microsoft Teams a lot more, to stay connected, to check in and to do work. We even all logged into Teams last Friday for a virtual happy hour and team trivia. If you haven’t tried that with your co-workers yet… do it! Heck, Microsoft Teams is free right now.
I was a remote worker for 4 years prior to joining Kiefer. I was the only west coast member of an east coast team, and, as you might imagine, I spent a lot of time on the phone. My previous company didn’t use the tools that I use today to collaborate or communicate, so most of my team interactions were via phone and e-mail. I felt like I was effective at getting work done as a remote worker but working remotely can make you lonely. I enjoy the face to face time I have with my co-workers at Kiefer and Microsoft Teams (chat, messaging, voice/video calling) has been very effective in making me feel more connected during these uncertain times.
Coronavirus has forced many organizations to trial run remote work at significant scale. I personally believe that what we learn in the next few (several) months could change how organizations work and may result in more organizations embracing the promise of the modern workplace, the workplace that allows you to work from anywhere on any device, securely.
Business as Usual in Unusual Times
I have talked with colleagues and we have continued to deliver our services and support our clients, remotely. In all our active engagements, we have continued to deliver for our clients without skipping a beat. I appreciate the team we have and I recognize that while working from home is nothing new, the dynamics have certainly changed. Kids are home from school, there may be several people in the household, and we really aren’t sure how long we will need to be observing the stay-at-home orders. Our CEO, Greg Kiefer, is doing his best to reach out to the team, conduct weekly meetings with the staff, and focus on the positives. This has been important to helping our team serve our clients and stay focused on our goals.
Thank You, Public Sector Employees
A majority of the clients we serve are public-sector clients, and I can say with confidence, state and local government is doing their very best to stay the course. We appreciate our clients and the dedication to serving constituents.
We have been reaching out to departments across the state to offer our help in mobilizing their workforce and helping them identify the tools that may assist them in supporting a remote workforce. More specifically, the tools that enable communication, collaboration, and automation. State, county, and city workers are very important to maintaining critical programs and infrastructure, and I speak for all of Kiefer when I say that we all appreciate you and the work that you do.
How is Your Organization Doing with Remote Work?
We’ll keep you updated on how things are going with us. What are you doing to stay engaged? What tools are you relying on to communicate and collaborate? How is your organization embracing remote work and what have you learned? Share your comments below.
Wash your hands. Be good to one another!