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Work Has Changed ‚Äď For the Better¬†¬†


2020 has brought a big, bad, stink truckload of pandemic-induced change to … the entire world.  

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. 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.  

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.  

But how do you execute a social media content schedule when your copywriter lives in Chaguanas, your designer is in Paramin, and the government has asked non-essential workers to stay at home? Can account executives confer successfully with creative directors if they can’t run into the company conference room?

It’s Time to Pivot 

It turns out that they can. Face to face is great. But online meeting platforms can achieve the same thing, especially as a pandemic is looming over everyone’s heads, and vaccines for everyone are still months, if not years, away. 

A few agencies, like us here at 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. It requires a different mindset than what is traditional in corporate Trinidad: our managers don’t have to see butts in seats to evaluate if work is being done.  

Once you’re ready to let go of the traditional, shop around for the right digital solutions to bring your team all into a virtual space for optimal communication and efficiency, no matter if they’re working from home, the office or a coffee shop in Tobago. You will need to look into instant messaging software for communication, file sharing software for collaborative work and perhaps project management or social media management software to keep things moving.

Some Tools We Recommend 

If you’re looking to go bare bones for a while longer, free tools like WhatsApp and the Google Suite of products can work, if you work them. A department group chat is a good tool to keep up with what is happening overall. And with WhatsApp Web and Desktop, you don’t even have to switch between your laptop and phone to communicate with colleagues while you work.  

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.  

For those companies looking to invest in more robust digital infrastructure that will help the company move forward, not just cope, there are many options on the market. It’s easier than you may think to find solutions that match both your needs and your budget. 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. A water cooler conversation via Slack message is just as easy as in-person chatting and may even be easier for the digital native.  

However, you may also look at something like paid G-Suite option or Microsoft Teams. Both these platforms allow colleagues to chat one-on-one or in groups, collaborate on different types of documents in real time, send emails … essentially, they provide you with the structure to have a virtual office, no matter where your employees are working from, or what devices they use for work.  

For those who work in social media, things are even easier. Most social media content management systems like Hootsuite, Agorapulse 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.  

Work has changed. Digital workflows allow people to work flexibly 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. And, pandemic or not, we believe this change is for the better. 

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