It has been a week since we started working remotely. We have decided to share with you information on how it works with us. How did we prepare for it? Did our IT team pull an all-nighter? How does work from home affect us? Are customers satisfied? Are we satisfied? :) We already have drawn the first conclusions.
Why, as an organisation, we are not afraid of remote work?
What to remember when implementing remote work procedures within a company [Checklist]
This is how the first days of work report 100% remoteely both managers and heads of business areas at MakoLab report:
Basically, the way we work has not changed - it is just like before. Each and every day we start from the so-called daily, during which we share information about what we have been able to do recently, what we are currently working on, and what steps we intend to take later on. The one&only difference is that we call each other more often, report more, and not only do we successfully implement ongoing projects for customers from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France or Dubai, but we also offer new inquiries and expand cooperation with existing customers in further countries. From the very beginning, we have used tools that facilitate our work, regardless of whether we are in our office or at home as it is now. At MakoLab, these are Jira, Confluence and software provided by Microsoft, such as Microsoft Teams or Outlook.
Joanna Walenda, Automotive Software Solutions Team Lead at MakoLab
When it comes to cooperation with customers, it is – by definition– a (collaborative) remote work involving, either, dialling in both tele and video conferences, using messengers, Jira and Confluence, as well as “immortal” e-mail. It does not really matter where we work (office/home – both we and our customers). As a bigger challenge, we find communication and coordination of activities within our company and within individual teams – because while working remotely we do have to replace very efficient communication channels (e.g., direct meeting and conversation - especially of a few people, the ability to immediately approach a colleague's desk, etc., and even a momentary break away from work and drinking a coffee) with their electronic counterparts.Working from home is not a newness to us and like other IT companies – we have been practising this model for several years. Of course, not so intensively as in recent days. We do possess mechanisms of action, tools, and habits. Now the time for test whether the whole company can work remotely in the long run as come. The test of how such a work will have affected, either, morales of all of us, work efficiency, and business-related results. The future will bring final results but for now, we are passing the test!
Łukasz Kubala, Head of Financial Software Solutions at MakoLab
Within eMarketing projects, we usually provide monthly billing services. Either specialist is assigned to a pool of projects for which it carries out different tasks each month as part of a scope of activities set. In different months, these may be different tasks depending on the needs of the project and long-term plan. Nevertheless, we are always prepared to react to changing environmental conditions, react quickly and adapt the plan - especially in an area as dynamic as Social Media. Ultimately, KPIs ratios prove the effectiveness of our activities, not the number of logged hours or closed tasks. This is a fundamental difference as compared to projects based on time&material settlements. For this reason, having reported the time of task implementation in systems such as Jira serves for our internal needs such as, for instance, work organisation, resource preparation, monitoring whether specialists are not burdened with an excessive amount of work, as well as whether they have time-related “safety buffer” for the needs of already-implemented projects. In the current situation, this model works very well.
Przemysław Zapart, Head of E-Marketing at MakoLab
We, as the whole company, were well prepared for work within the Home Office model. We had practised how to access customers environments from outside the MakoLab office earlier on. After all, every day we work on-line with customers using tools such as: JIRA/Confluence/Git/Skype/Teams/mail/phone. We are in constant contact, customers keep asking about our situation and... they also switch into HO. Of course, there are situations when something does not work as smoothly as all of us wish, such as overloaded Microsoft servers, when everyone in the world has begun to organise company meetings on Teams. Another example is the tests we perform on hardware simulators that are difficult to access remotely. However, we always try to find a way out of a challenging situation. And we do find one
Rafał Głowiński, Head of Connected Car Delivery at MakoLab
My remote team working together for next days Source: Just Join IT
Has remote work changed anything?
Certainly, the communication within a project is now of much more intensity. Particularly – in this situation – independence is important when in comes to solving problems - no colleague is available at the desk nearby to quickly give a helping hand. Obviously, team leaders have greater challenges in coordinating teamwork. On the other hand, however, there are no “distractions” such as group chats in the kitchen over a coffee (blink), and work in the silence of one’s own room is also conducive to concentration - I base this conclusion on my own experience. Well, unless someone is sitting with small kids at home alone - then such a person has a classic Saigon :)
Rafał Głowiński, Head of Connected Car Delivery at MakoLab
In the utter&total remote work mode, we have added to our standard practices procedures related to cyclical and daily monitoring of project status during a quick status check with teams responsible for the areas of Paid Search, SEO, Web Analytics, and Social Media. However, we discuss current activities and plans during separate calls within teams already assigned to specific projects. The disadvantage is, of course, the lack of face-to-face communication. Direct contact with customers is still irreplaceable. However, experience gained in projects such as Global SEO Management – within the framework of which we support even dozen-or-so markets from around the world – allows us maintaining high communication efficiency also in the current situation.
Przemysław Zapart, Head of E-marketing at MakoLab
When we look from an intra-company perspective, it has got interesting. In my view, we are currently talking more together, in groups, than we used to do in the office. “Ad-hoc” contacts with one or the other manager in the corridor turned into meetings where you may hear voices from all departments. The daily with all department managers, where we inform about the situation in the teams and the entire company, that is what I am talking about. - I think it is a great initiative.
adds Rafał Głowiński.
The longing for personal contact with the team is certainly incremental. For example, when I hear them every day (colleagues from the Automotive Software Solutions team), all I can think about is hugging them as soon as I meet them up again 😉 Everyone in the team is already thinking about re-integration, as soon as it will have been over!
adds Joanna Walenda.
How do we deal with remote work and managing the current situation?
All our employees are trained and familiar with the procedures. We have conducted internal tests of switching into remote work mode. We do have a fully prepared and efficient IT infrastructure that makes projects run smoothly and in accordance with applicable standards. Most importantly, everything is invariably carried out while maintaining the highest standards of information security, in accordance with ISO 27001 and TISAX. We are prepared as for this model of cooperation as long as it is needed.
Wojciech Zieliński, CEO MakoLab
And this is how remote work at MakoLab looks like :)
A view from Ogrodowa Office building in Lodz on Pałac Poznańskiego and Manufaktura
PR Specialist at MakoLab