Work Has Changed â€“ For the BetterÂ Â
2020 has brought a big, bad,Â stink truckload ofÂ pandemic-inducedÂ change to â€¦ the entire world.Â Â
Trinidad & Tobago has had to pivot and cope with a lot. But as one of the more developed countries in our region, we had the infrastructure and the resources to do so.Â We still have the lowest electricity rates in the Western hemisphere, because we produce oil & gas, and over 70% of the population has access to the internet.Â Â
Businesses that did not need to entice persons out of their homes into storefronts were best positioned to make changes quickly. They could keep working and earning money, even when many non-essential stores were asked to close. Agencies fell into this category.Â Â
But how do you execute a social media content schedule when your copywriter lives in Chaguanas,Â your designer is inÂ Paramin, and the government has asked non-essential workers to stay at home? Can account executives conferÂ successfullyÂ with creative directors if theyÂ canâ€™t runÂ into the company conference room?
Itâ€™s Time to PivotÂ
It turns out that they can. Face to face is great.Â ButÂ online meeting platformsÂ can achieve the same thing, especially as a pandemic is looming over everyoneâ€™s heads, and vaccines for everyone are still months, if not years, away.Â
A fewÂ agencies, likeÂ us here atÂ Monster Media, were already primed to take their entire workflow online, and have been working virtually for the last eight months without any loss in communication, efficiency or client satisfaction.Â It requires a different mindset than what is traditional in corporate Trinidad:Â ourÂ managersÂ donâ€™t have to see butts in seats to evaluate if work is being done.Â Â
Once youâ€™re ready to let go of the traditional, shop around forÂ theÂ rightÂ digital solutionsÂ to bring yourÂ teamÂ all intoÂ aÂ virtual spaceÂ for optimal communication and efficiency, no matter if theyâ€™reÂ workingÂ from home, the office or a coffee shop in Tobago.Â You will need toÂ look intoÂ instant messagingÂ softwareÂ for communication, fileÂ sharingÂ softwareÂ for collaborative workÂ andÂ perhaps project management or social media management software to keep things moving.
SomeÂ ToolsÂ WeÂ RecommendÂ
If youâ€™re looking to go bare bones for a while longer, free tools like WhatsApp and the Google SuiteÂ of productsÂ can work, if you workÂ them. A department group chat is a good tool to keep up with what is happening overall. And withÂ WhatsApp Web and Desktop, you donâ€™t even have to switch between your laptop and phone to communicate with colleaguesÂ while you work.Â Â
For small companies, opening new free Gmail addresses can work to help things get streamlined, give co-workers access to Google Chat to collaborate in real time, as well as the freedom to collaborate on documents via Google Drive. But switching your company email to G-Suite is not costly either.Â Â
For those companies looking to invest inÂ more robustÂ digital infrastructure thatÂ will helpÂ the company move forward, not just cope, there areÂ manyÂ options on the market.Â Itâ€™s easier than you may think to find solutions that match both your needs and your budget.Â You might look at just a communication solution, like Slack, Hive or Workplace from Facebook. These platforms allow small or large groups to communicate seamlessly, in real time, without the formality of email.Â AÂ water cooler conversation via Slack messageÂ is just as easyÂ as in-person chatting andÂ mayÂ evenÂ be easier for the digital native.Â Â
However, you may also look at something like paid G-Suite option or Microsoft Teams. Both these platforms allowÂ colleagues to chat one-on-one or in groups, collaborate on different types of documents in real time, send emails â€¦ essentially, they provide you with the structure to have a virtual office, no matter where your employees areÂ workingÂ from, or what devices they use for work.Â Â
For those who work in social media, things are even easier. Most social media content management systems like Hootsuite,Â AgorapulseÂ or Buffer allow users to assign content to someone else to be approved, send customer messages to another for responses and a calendar to see everything scheduled for the week.Â Â
Work has changed. Digital workflows allow people to work flexiblyÂ and still care for their families, get errands done and live, free from the stress having to spend two+ hours commuting to and from the office.Â And,Â pandemic or not, we believe this change is for the better.Â