Anca Chiosa is Head of Training at Conduent.
Tell us about what happened with you & your company in the first weeks of this crisis.
After the initial disbelief (“Is this really happening? Is this as bad as it seems? Will this hit us to the same extent it hit others?”), we started daily crisis meetings with the management team. It was a lot of news reading and sharing at the beginning and based on what we noticed in other countries, we started to prepare the migration to Work from Home.
What are your company’ top 5 priorities in this period?
- Reassuring our teams that we are doing everything in our power to get them all to work from home and explain how we planned the waves of WFH migration.
- Communicating clearly and frequently to our people about the crisis and measures taken at company and local level.
- Keeping clients informed about our plans to manage the crisis, move people to work from home (95% of our services were constantly delivered from Conduent offices) and still keep delivering the services (including voice).
- Training the managers on how to communicate and support their teams during crisis situations.
- Providing extended learning resources and online webinars focused on emotional wellbeing (coping with stress and anxiety, managing negative thoughts and emotions).
What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?
Definitely the biggest challenge was to accept that this would be a long-lasting change with major implications in our lives and until the government did not make the stay at home measure mandatory, I could not fully comply with the restrictions. That was the moment I realized there was no turning back and no bending of the rules, if we want to go out of this and do damage control.
How did you adapt to the new working conditions?
I have to admit that reconciling work and staying at home was a major difficulty for me. I usually associate home with relaxation and family time and mixing in the work took some time to adjust. I just had to be patient with myself and accept that adjusting would be slow and I should not expect perfect results during this period. And slowly things got better and I could regain the focus I used to have in the office.
How did you organize your workspace at home? How does your office look like?
I am lucky to have enough space and a well-equipped desk at home. I took one room only for myself during working hours and I keep the door closed when I am in conference calls and meetings, which helps me focus and I know I will not be interrupted.
How do you stay motivated and productive? – tips & tricks of WFH
The same things motivate me now as they do when I am in the office: having a great team and colleagues I truly enjoy working with J. As for staying productive, I would say this has not been the main priority in the last month. I have focused more on keeping the communication frequent and open/transparent and making sure the team spirit is still alive.
What do you miss from the “old days” when you were at the office?
Face to face interaction with the team members and the sense of energy I get when arriving in the office in the morning and seeing colleagues prepare for work or for the morning coffee. 🙂
How do you personally manage work-life balance during this period?
It’s a bit more difficult to disconnect from work and take breaks during the day with less distractions compared to office life, but I try to make it a rule to shut down the laptop when the schedule ends (and it works on most of the days).
As for my daughter’s online school schedule, she is 8 now, so quite independent and does need so much help to connect to Zoom. Also, my husband’s schedule is more flexible and he is supporting with homework more than I do.
How do you use in your advantage “the quarantine time”?
I am more protective of my alone time and my family respects this. I read a lot of articles to keep myself up to date about current trends and crisis responses. Also, I have been preparing some training sessions during the last 4 weeks and research is something I truly enjoy doing. To be relaxed I keep reasonable sleep hours and I watch movies and TV series during the weekends.
Looking back at the last month, do you have a favourite moment?
No, I would just keep the memory of the good feeling I had overall due to still being very much connected to the people I normally work with (even in this remote environment). And definitely spending more time with my family has made me appreciate more the support we give each other.
What activities do you enjoy engaging in as a family or by yourself?
Board games and quizzes – we are competitive and it’s quite funny for me to see my daughter being upset every time she loses a game 🙂
What habit, mechanism or idea will you preserver for your professional and personal life when quarantine will end?
The quick check-ups with the team members and shorter meetings for work.
For the personal life, being more flexible with the expectations I have about my productivity and leave room for creativity.
What will be your company’ first 3 priorities when the lock down is over?
- Making sure returning to the office happens in safe conditions for our colleagues.
- Maintaining employee morale up by continuing to focus on emotional wellbeing programs.
- Keeping momentum for the Agile way of working developed during the WFH period.