We thought we would sit down with Bart & Danielle, our two Project Managers, and ask how they have found managing projects and people from remote for the first time.
Top learnings from COVID and being a PM from remote
B: I think my top learning from the Covid situation was to adapt the way information flows between different people. For example, not being able to have talks at the coffee machine pushed me to be more organized overall. The communication through the planning software is more formal compared to personalized, casual and routine gatherings.
After some time, you recognize that it is harder to 'sense the temperature' in the group. Video calling does not allow for eye contact, body language etc. and consequently they are also more energy demanding for everyone.
D: I think my personal learning is about being more efficient with communication and taking the initiative to engage in discussions on a regular basis. In short, you cannot turn your back to your colleagues anymore… If you do, expect to see an undesired result rapidly afterwards.
This works in both ways: if you need to reach out to someone, you should not be afraid to call that person directly. You shouldn’t overestimate the risk that you are bothering that person, you need to make the next step before it gets delayed further - especially when you are organizing and preparing for multiple installations.
A final tip is to turn down notifications after a fixed hour at night. Although it was hard to find a balance between ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ at first, fixing a specific time frame for both is crucial.
Something you didn’t expect when working from home
B: I did not expect so much hatred towards the idea of working from home 5 days a week...haha
D: I did not expect to see that I had the responsibility to become my own motivator. It is only then that you realize that being surrounded by your colleagues who work hard naturally motivates you to do the same. That being said, I really enjoy working from home now!
Your typical daily routine
B: My daily routine did not change so much. One detail that changed when working from home was that I did not always need to take a shower before 'going to work'.
D: Not much has changed apart from not eating lunch at exactly 12h00 when the 'food-run' channel lights up 😉
Top app you used?
B: Slack and google meet most probably.
D: Slack is a must, and Wrike for the follow up of projects
Guess how many slack messages you’ve sent in the past 30days
B: I don't have to guess: it's 865.
D: Probably too many... 1000+
Do you still like or need coffee? ☕️
B: That's a rhetorical question, right?
D: I still like it, but I also realized I do not need it as much as I thought before. It became a habit -or even a ritual- when first entering the office but now it is more of an occasional thing to do and it suits me!
What is or was difficult for you when working from home?
B: The hardest thing for me was the lack of personal contact with my colleagues. Also, my laptop and other screens being always visible in the living room, I felt that work was always present. I had a hard time to engage with machines instead of humans for such a long period of time…
D: Moving! You do not realize how small your apartment is until you notice you’ve only moved 800 steps at 7 PM. This is also why I loved to go to the office by foot, and you only see the difference once you are not moving anymore.