I remember clearly, that Sunday night in March, talking with Sarah my co- founder, as COVID-19 loomed. We needed to communicate to our team and clients about our decision to work remotely, and our desire to do our part as a company to ‘help flatten the curve’. Things moved so quickly that looking back now it actually seems surreal.
In a state of complete flux, having only implemented new systems into our organisation months earlier, we quickly had to upskill and work with our team to ensure the efficacy of our services was unaffected.
More importantly though, we had to pivot. We were already helping organisations to thrive by supporting their people through the parental leave transition, retirement transition and overall work life enrichment. We knew we were well placed to provide pandemic support having evidence-based transition theory behind us, and a team of psychologists who were ready to go.
From early on, our Wellbeing series of webinars grew – we listened to our key organisations as their needs shifted, and went into development overdrive to create meaningful virtual workshops which could be adapted to meet the changing times through staged lockdowns.
Knowing that we were truly helping organisations and their people was an immensely satisfying feeling- yet at the core of this was the need to protect our team and their own wellbeing too.
At our end of year face to face celebration last week, what came to the fore was the fact that one major change really impacted on our team. It was a decision that Sarah and I had made very quickly, early on… regular team catch ups purely for the wellbeing and connection of our team.
I remember clearly in one of these catch ups all we did was laugh- we started by talking about the funny COVID-19 memes that were going around, and it became a session full of humour- so healthy for the soul!
Working as a remote organisation even prior to the pandemic, we would bring our team physically together but not often enough and many times some wouldn’t make it because the commute and location didn’t always suit. Suddenly when we moved to Teams it was an enabler for more people to attend.
Whilst I agree with Kate Morris (founder of Adore), “no amount of tech is going to make your company actually agile and able to innovate…. It’s got to be in your culture, so you‘ve got to build an organisation from the ground up to be able to respond when things change dramatically”, I believe that building culture comes through connection. If this connection can only occur virtually then technology needs to become your best friend.
As we enter into 2021 work will look like it never has before. It’s a long way off before organisations will allow all staff back in offices, and from the numerous surveys people have conducted, it is unlikely that we will ever see all staff in on any given day. For this reason we have no choice but to use technology to enhance culture.
While this will never replace the human face to face connection we all crave, and at the moment are so enjoying in a “Covid- normal” Victoria, technology can be used to promote innovation, with the biggest question ‘how can we do this well?’
If you would have asked me at the start of 2020 how this year would pan out- not in my wildest dreams would I have said that we could move our entire service delivery to an online model. But we have and the efficacy has not only been as good, but the growth and reach of products easier.
This is because we pivoted with open minds and, at the core of this, was the fundamental need to support our clients. As we watched our team, HR contacts and clients become more depleted, it became essential to be a piece of support assisting them to push on. It’s what has, and continues to drive, our passion to lead Transitioning Well every day.
I’m excited to see what 2021 brings. Wishing you all happy holidays- enjoy the opportunity to recover, reflect and reset.
Take care of yourself and others,
Co-Director, Transitioning Well