Can You See Me Now?

April 9, 2020 by Lynn Faughey

It’s been a strange few weeks, to say the least. I feel like while most of us have resigned ourselves to the current state of affairs with COVID-19, we’re still scratching our heads in disbelief. So many things have become our new normal: social distancing, ultra-sanitizing, excessive hand washing, face masks. It’s surreal. Life as we know it seems to have come to a screeching halt while we’re all holed up hoping to someday get back to normal – whatever “normal” will be when this is all over.

In the past, some of us were fortunate enough to be well-versed in remote work. This usually meant working from home or another off-site location. As Rose and I have discussed in other newsletters, team members can be across the country and in different time zones. It’s been up to us, as project managers, to make sure the team still functions as a cohesive unit regardless of our geography. 

Over the past few weeks, working from home has become commonplace, if not required, even with the separation of teams who are used to being located on-site together. For many, this is their first time being set up to work at home and in addition to trying to settle into a new work routine, they may also be contending with others in the household doing the same. 

Now add the kids, young and old, also being at home and it makes for a new and very different work dynamic. For me, it’s important to stay connected more than ever in order to continue to keep our projects on track. We’re all working in unprecedented times and holding the team together is a critical component.

At FlexPro, we’re doing the best we can to continue business as usual during these very unusual times. I think we’re all thankful to be able to do remote work when many cannot and are adapting to our new circumstances using the technology available to us. Because we’re used to having members of remote teams in other locations, we’ve always utilized video conferencing to stay connected in real-time. This versatile tool has never been more valuable than it is right now. 

Our FlexPro team is using Microsoft Teams, including the video conferencing feature. I particularly like the “blur the background” feature for those who are concerned about the visibility of sensitive information, other family members, or even just dishes in the sink! I strongly encourage my team members to use video and emphasize that I don’t care what they’re wearing or if their hair is combed for chats with me. Baseball caps and ponytails are perfectly acceptable! 

While it doesn’t have to be formal, we do clean it up a bit for video chats with clients. Make sure you know exactly where the mute button is in case the dog starts barking or the landscaper starts mowing right outside the window.

With social distancing restrictions in place, video conferencing has been especially helpful in the hiring process. In spite of COVID-19, we’ve continued to move ahead with interviews. I find I have a harder time assessing someone just over the phone because I miss seeing facial expressions and body language. 

Over the years, I’ve learned that non-verbal cues are sometimes just as important as verbal ones in assessing a job candidate. Using video conferencing is not only a good way for me to get more of an in-person perspective, but it also works for the potential candidate as well. Last week we were able to onboard two new people with another expected this week. Video hiring is just one more way we’ve had to adapt to doing business during this difficult time. 

My team knows I prefer the face-to-face communication video conferencing provides. It allows us to discuss important issues and interact with each other, maybe even sharing a laugh or two. I like to see their smiling faces and think it helps all of us feel more connected. We even held a virtual happy hour on Microsoft Teams! 

There are a number of video chat options available for remote work and personal use. From House Party to Zoom, people are still finding ways to socialize while maintaining social distance. I’d love to hear about how you and your team are overcoming the challenges and staying connected. Drop me an email or better yet, let’s have a video chat!

During COVID-19, companies need project management expertise more than ever. FlexPro brings you process-focused leaders who can handle remote work with ease. Whether it’s pharma, biotech, or medical devices, our project management experts get your Life Sciences projects done.

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