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The world somersaulted around us in mid-March, and just like that we found ourselves in an unprecedented situation. There was no playbook, no one-size-fits-all strategy, and every leadership decision had gained an exceptional weight.
A couple of months into this new world order, we thought it’s time for that ‘lessons learned’ talk while the whole experience is still fresh. So, at the end of May we sat down with ALLWIN CEO, István Nagy — via Microsoft Teams, obviously — to take a closer look into the past few months and ask him about the challenges he faced as a leader & how he tackled them.
Yes, I’ve worked from home before occasionally, depending on my schedule, so this wasn’t something new for me. As a company, we seek to be flexible when it comes to remote working.
We’ve been closely following the news coming from Europe, as well as the developments in Hungary after the virus first appeared here. As the first cases emerged, our management team started to prepare and talk about the necessary steps and their timing. As always, communication is an ongoing process: we informed our colleagues in emails, and we held all-staff meetings to discuss everything - which we still do every month.
Luckily, everything is digital within the IT sector, so there was no challenge in technical terms.
The company basically switched to remote working from Friday to Monday. Apart from some minor access difficulties there were no major issues. After several months, it seems that our productivity has not been negatively impacted by remote working. There was no need for redundancies, and we did not have to reduce salaries or working hours.
Flexibility is a core value at ALLWIN, and it goes both ways. Fortunately, most of our colleagues are able to work independently and we trust them fully. Many of them have already been working from home, and this has never been an issue for us.
Even though our transition to remote working was quick and seamless, and the situation has not impacted our performance, we still faced a few difficulties. For example, taking part in virtual meetings is way more exhausting than meeting in person. You don’t even notice that half a day has gone by without you ever leaving your screen. And we really miss face to face interactions, when we could just bump into each other in the corridor and chat for a few minutes. We have probably missed out on a lot of conversations that would have happened while having coffee. Informal meetings like that usually have a positive impact on work as well, resulting in new ideas and perspectives.
We are proud to have a diverse group of people working for us, each of them with a unique personality and background. Naturally, for some this was more difficult than it was for others. As leaders, we must support our employees in such situations. Our team leaders are available to help anyone, and our team members form a close-knit group.
We have not ignored our community programmes either, as they might be even more important in such an isolated situation as this. There were differences, of course, but fortunately these have not caused any conflict. Just as remote working had not been banned before, it is not forbidden to come to the office now, even though it is not recommended. When the management made its decision, we had to consider how we could take responsibility for our staff and society as a whole in this delicate situation while also protecting the interests of the company.
There is no specific date yet. We will certainly continue with remote working until the end of June. However, we've been reassessing the situation on a weekly basis, and it seems like we're going to slowly reopen the office throughout the summer.
Based on the experiences gained in the last couple of months, we don’t think there is a need to change the way we organise work. However, the need for working from home will probably increase. All in all, this has been a good trial period, and it turned out that we were able to organize and use remote working in a seamless way.
With two young children in the family it is not easy to maintain a work-life balance. There have been some unexpected situations. Introducing a daily schedule was a huge help in making sure that everyone has time for everyone. During the lockdown, we could not meet our friends in person, but we tried to keep in touch in other ways. For us, practicing sports was the main form of relaxation, and this is something we can do together with the kids.
By now, you might have been introduced to the term "digital transformation." But what does that mean? For those who still don't have a clear picture, generally speaking, digital transformation is how businesses integrate digital technology into their work, thus changing their business processes, activities, models, and customer relations.
Agile software development is pretty popular nowadays, but it can be frustrating for people in various roles working on the project. Here are a couple of notes on the experience that we faced on recent projects.
IT outsourcing is very popular nowadays due to the fact that it has a lot of pros from a business perspective. There are a couple of blog posts written on this topic. You can take a look at one of them here. This post is about showing what makes an outsourcing partnership tempting for a developer – and at the end of the day, it is a win-win situation when both you and your developers are happy.