In a remote digital agency and working on projects that demand collaboration, restrictions on being in the same room as people you’re brainstorming with was supposed to make things difficult. But it didn’t.
Here at Weqollab, we handle thousands of files a week, our team members talk to each other and about a hundred other people every day. If crazy had a recipe, ours was a perfect dish. But things work.
Truth be told, the setup had a certain level of heat. Sometimes, it would run too hot. But somehow, it never catches fire.
As a content lead, I dip my fingers in the many pockets of collaboration that form. I send my work to developers, to the UI/UX team, to graphic designers or to our animators. It’s always the content guys plus someone else on the team.
This gave me that perfect vantage point to see how everything worked. From where I stand, there were two things I saw were absolutely necessary to ensure everything works out if not perfectly, good enough to keep projects being delivered on time.
Plan A, B, C, D and on and on
In meetings, we always settle on a Plan A but management has made it a habit to always think about things falling through. What if production takes more time? What if pandemic restrictions halt an on-site shoot?
And while this is important for virtually anything, it’s especially crucial for a remote-only team.
Having everyone so far away from each other in a global pandemic widens the potential possibilities of interruptions to happen. In computer security, they call this an “attack area”. Someone’s apartment could suddenly require an evacuation or a person’s computer might stop working with nothing to diagnose.
It’s a fact of life that as remote workers, the entire team can be exposed to multiple points of failure. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from planning for the worse.
And while we don’t take an extra hour every meeting hammering out the details of Plan B, C, D etc etc it’s always something in our mind to keep as a possibility. That also means when we actually need to pull out an alternative, we’re not too stressed about it and we take it as a fact of life.
Its true workplaces must have a competitive, goal-oriented vibe. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t contain positivity or, even better, joy. Luckily at Weqollab, project delivery leaders are really empathetic.
As a team, we learn when to push hard or to allocate space for workplace wellness. And the previous planning really makes this possible (but not always easier!).
While positivity can take the back burner or can become a secondary priority in the traditional office setting, it can’t be the case for remote work.
Working in this current set-up requires people to actually be self-inspired and self-starters. A sort of “personal leader”, they must be inspired to sit in front of their computers at home, sure of what things they need to complete. And this positivity becomes a shared responsibility among members. We avoid causing distress that can harm another’s flow.
Positivity isn’t just joy. It also requires an understanding of the important role you play. When you know how big you are contributing to a successful project, it gives that positive pressure.
Positivity at work is a complex practice – there should be contentment, joy and despite the limitations, camaraderie.
In our experience at Weqollab, working in an industry with tight deadlines and challenging deliverables, productivity and quality isn’t something we can compromise on. And that goes for many more growing teams thrust into remote work setups.
But we realised productivity isn’t something that needs to be given up for the sake of mindful preparedness and positivity.
In my local slang, there’s a portmanteau “pansamantagal”. It’s a hybrid of “pansamantala” (temporary) and “pangmatagalan” (permanent). This is an adjective often used for temporary solutions that become long-term protocols, a perfect description for many work-from-home setups.
And while Weqollab began with the vision of being fully remote, we’re not exempt from the challenges this setup creates. And just like any team, we also can’t wait to be in the same room (all of us) for once!