How COVID-19 Will Shape the Future

Looking Ahead from Inside Your Home: How COVID-19 will Shape the Future of Communication, Collaboration, and Organization.

The COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed how companies are conducting business on a day to day basis. With the stay at home order, we have all had to adapt and develop processes to enable that our company can continue to operate.  The RKS team has learned some valuable lessons that have helped us become a more effective and efficient team. Communication, time management, and organization are essential skillsets to work remotely at a higher caliber and vital to our business, given our cross-disciplinary and collaborative approach to innovation.

Having an open studio culture has made it easy to communicate between team members; however, the team working from home has challenged us to elevate our communication between team members.  Additionally, we learned that our communication when we were sitting in the same room wasn’t always effective, which creates an opportunity for improvement now and in the future when we come back together in a physical location.

With the team working remotely, we have leveraged Zoom and Slack to enhance our communication skills to hold productive meetings and continuously communicate. Each morning we have a team Zoom meeting to discuss the progression on projects, meetings, team collaboration, and to make sure everyone is doing well. Morning Zoom meetings was an easy tool to implement and ensure that the team was aligned on critical aspects of the organization.  As design and engineering agency, brainstorming and ideation became the critical area to figure so that the team could collaborate virtually.  Our team leveraged technology, providing the team with Wacom One tablets to facilitate virtual sketching and ideation sessions to make sure we can harness the collective brainpower of the team without having to work in a vacuum alone at home.

 

              

 

Working from home has provided us with better time management and organization skills because we need to rely on each other to get things done to collaborate and deliver to our clients. Team members with children required that the team become more flexible to ensure we make the most of our time together and still provided each person time to work alone as needed. In this short time, we’ve taken away many new lessons learned and we will continue to utilize these lessons and new tools to continually improve and deliver the highest quality results.

 

China's Pollution Map
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Although this pandemic is disrupting day to day activities, it is showing us remote working has a global benefit for the environment and carbon footprint. Looking from the map of China before and during the quarantine demonstrates the amount of airborne nitrogen dioxide the country produces. After just a month of shutting down, the pollution map is close to zero and the first time China had a reduction rate for an extended time. Having employees work from home cuts down travel time to and from their office. Some residents spend up to three-hour commuting each day, producing pollution and a loss of productive time. The time spent commuting can now be towards being productive, learning a new skill, or spending time with loved ones. Not only can this pandemic help reverse the impacts of global warming, but it also helps our relationships with our families and refocuses our energy on the reason we all work so hard in the first place.

COVID-19 is bringing the world together by holding people accountable for social distancing. We are social distancing to protect the elderly, people who are at higher risk like cancer patients, all of the work essential workers are doing during this time, and helping stop the spread of the virus. Scientists and health care professionals are working together to learn about the virus and create a vaccine. Generally, scientists would keep the sequence of the virus a secret to be the first country to have a vaccine.  With COVID-19 Chinese scientists figured out the sequence of the virus and shared it with other scientists around the globe to work together to shorten the time to have a vaccine within 18 months.

This time can be uncertain and unknown because of the virus, there are always things we can be grateful for during these times. We’re able to spend more time focusing on our loved ones, help reduce pollution, and learn how to better communicate with our peers. We know that throughout everything, we will come together to help fight COVID-19.