Last week, my son became unexpectedly ill with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), an infectious virus that requires he’s kept at home. It created a scenario that every parent will be familiar with: how to balance the demands of work with caring for your child. For me this coincided with a very busy week at work and created some particular challenges, not least because a new team member has just joined, and our important departmental quarterly business review was taking place. Panic and worry may have set in, but video solutions and flexi-work arrangements came to the rescue!
New hire onboarding? It doesn’t matter – I can work from anywhere!
As head of my lean team working across the Southeast Asia region, we are very busy and it’s paramount that I keep up the momentum our team has built from quarter to quarter.
Just last week, following a long recruitment cycle, my new Senior Marketing Manager hire finally joined our team. Great news! I’d lined up weeks of orientation on various topics for her to get on board and familiar with our business and processes. Alas it’s been barely a week and I’ve to suddenly “disappear” from the office. Thankfully, my planning was complete in advance and her induction schedule was pretty much set for last week and this. Where introductions need to be made and my participation is required, I can join meetings taking place in the office from home, using Polycom RealPresence Desktop. Furthermore, training can also take place in the new joiner’s own time, by reviewing past Polycom video archives and induction sessions saved on our video content management infrastructure.
Some of the real time induction sessions may require rescheduling, but most importantly, my communication with the new manager is not hampered at all, as she has been video-enabled from Day 1. This is important in helping a new employee settle, as one can imagine it’s quite unnerving to have his or her manager disappear soon after you’ve joined a new company. With video-enabling technologies – it is as effective as being there since it offers the benefits that come from experiencing body language and facial expressions. It sure beats having to guess!
Read more on nurturing high-performance teams here.
It’s Quarterly Business Review!
Our Asia Pacific Marketing team met last week to conduct a Quarterly Business Review. At Polycom, we are used to doing this on video since half the APAC marketing team is located in countries outside of Singapore. However, I do like to get into the Singapore office and gather with those based here to get into the “mood” of the meeting room.
So, like all my remotely located colleagues, I joined on video from home (see screenshot below) so that I was able to participate whilst still being there for my son. I made plans to schedule lunch accordingly that day and as usual, found a quiet environment so that I could focus on the meeting properly.
Using Polycom’s meeting recording feature, the business review was also recorded. This means that I can go back to review any part of the meeting when I am back working full time, when my son has recovered.
My baby needs me!
Last week and into this week I am able to combine flexi-working from home, with taking care leave time off, so that I can continue to balance the commitments of my job role with the commitment of looking after my son. Importantly, the impact to my team has been minimised and productivity maintained.
So to all who are thinking of flexi-work and wonder how it works: prioritise, plan and prove that you are fair to the employer and the family.
There are times when we can work from home when the child is mildly ill, and there are times that required dedicated care and attention. Flexi-work and teleworking provide the opportunity for an employee to manage their own time with their work hours and location. This also means taking full time off such as childcare leave when the situation requires.
My son’s illness is expected to take another week to completely go away. The great thing about having video is that while he is on the road to recovery in the next few working days, I can fully come back to work online, resume my new hire meetings, attend follow-ups from the quarterly business review and everyone else would be assured they are not put at risk of the contagious virus!
You can also read Nick Hawkins’ blog post on Business Continuity.