While working from home has been a way of life for many in the technology sector, 2020 accelerated this seismic shift for others, forcing a crash course in mastering collaboration tools such as Box, Jira, Slack, Zoom, Wiki and MS Teams to name a few.
I interviewed several women in leadership positions across Retail, Healthcare, Design, Education and Business to gain an understanding of the key takeaways of how technology has better enabled their teams’ collaboration and productivity.
Pressing the fast forward button.
The consensus across industries is that productivity improved in 2020. Teams bonded over the global pandemic, feeling ‘we really are all in this together‘, and embracing new technologies, leaning in and leaning on each other. Barriers were reduced across the board, eased by the ability to log in at anytime and the adoption of productivity and communication tools.
Healthcare expedited technology adoption for both service providers and clients, reaching their 5 year plan for telemedicine visits within the first 5 weeks of the pandemic.
Education experienced a rockier transition, requiring significant changes and new online teaching tools. Going from a live, in-person lecture hall to streaming from a home office with two laptops, two monitors and a mobile phone ushered in a new insanity, leaving many wondering when is it going to break? How much can we sustain?
e-Commerce faced a major shift with consumers moving in droves to online shopping.
e-Commerce had to transform their operating cadence, with teams transitioning from in person meetings and hallway discussions with access to binders of Excel reports to small at home teams operating often independantly and relying on self service web models for reporting and business insight.
This shift was a completely new way of operating.
All the women I talked with spoke of burn out, driven by the challenging and constant blend of work and personal life. This was particularly true for those with young children at home; layering on children’s remote learning was another full time job.
Several of my interviewees said that they have never worked harder. While they were empowered by the ubiquitous access to online tools, there is a toll: Zoom fatigue and the nature of Zoom is non-stop. ‘It feels dehumanizing’.
In the pandemic many experienced a sense of liberation, where meeting your team day after day in your kitchen allowed for a more intimate bonding experience and eliminated the need to ‘dress to impress’. This enhanced familiarity reduced social pressure and built empathy between colleagues.
Despite the gains in camaraderie and the convenient elimination of commutes, everyone noted that nothing replaces face-to-face meetings and interactions, missing the whiteboard session, the improvisation, the subtle sensory cues and the body language.
The look ahead
One year ago, no-one could have imagined how much our lives and work would change, or how much would be achieved in our experimental work at home. In 2020 we all utilized technology to connect and achieve with tremendous success. We have onboarded new hires, launched new products, developed educational programs, and designed new web concepts, all without meeting in-person.
2021 brings a thirst to build on the efficiencies achieved in 2020, and to work smarter, not longer. We learned that being ‘constantly on’ takes a toll, and that we need to preserve some boundaries between our professional and personal lives. We’d like to uphold the lessons learned through the pandemic, and expand on them by automating many tasks and limiting redundancies.
2021 – Efficiencies and Automation for Retail
The Retailers I speak with on a daily basis are operating lean teams, and seeking a better balance between tactical execution and crafting strategies for ongoing success. Many of them are logging in to 5+ platforms a day, which demands significant time to translate their goals into the language and the levers of each of these systems. All of them are looking to reduce the amount of the day devoted to minute, repetitive actions, and finding new hope with the large leaps we’ve made in sophisticated analytics and AI.
Wishing you balance in 2021.
At DynamicAction the challenges and the opportunities of Covid have inspired us to develop two new solutions. DynamicView and DynamicRecipes remove the drudgery from the daily grind, enabling Retailers to efficiently evaluate next actions, take those actions, and assess their impact the bottom line. DynamicView provides a rapid read of the business, allowing Retailers to efficiently identify profitable actions across their eCommerce sites. DynamicRecipes allows Retailers to automate product exposure to target their category and business goals across all of their grid, search and recommendation zones.
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