At GASCON, we have been self-isolating and working from our respective homes for the past several days. And following the announcements by the Québec Government, it seems we will continue to do so for many weeks to come. For many of us, we feel isolated for the first time, since we, as human beings, need to socialize. For one of the first times in decades, we are confined without the possibility of networking. And I’m borrowing from someone else: “Networking is out for now, but we have time to deepen our relationships.”

Obviously, it is nice to be able to work from home from time to time. It takes us out of our daily routine, away from the noisy coffee maker or from co-workers who sometimes speak a little too loudly. It helps us move things forward more rapidly, concentrate on reading or drafting a text.

However, this isolation should not prevent us from being active in all respects. Work is healthy. Let’s use our imagination, we have all the time in the world. We can start by developing new work methods and systems and improving communications between fellow workers. We have a unique opportunity to think outside the box. It might also be time for us to begin having a little more “live” conversations and a little less email exchange.

Our firm’s administrative manager and partners are meeting every day via TEAMS, in order to ensure that our clients continue to receive the high quality of service to which they are accustomed. We communicate with our employees to let them know what is going on at the firm and what will be done for the benefit of all.

Earlier today, I attended a webinar conference entitled: “Working and interacting remotely”. I will summarize it for you in a few words:

  • We must communicate efficiently with our employees; videoconferencing or other similar means of communication is particularly recommended.
  • We should try to use simple vocabulary in our communications.
  • Communications should be kept short and to the point.
  • Long-distance supervision: briefings, telephone follow-ups and encouraging messages may be required according to the degree of autonomy of employees.
  • We should try to establish communication routines.
  • Hands-free telephone conversations should be avoided whenever possible; a subject should be introduced and concluded, and we should thank the participants.
  • Whenever resorting to written communication, it should be kept as short as possible and paginated
  • We all have the right to “disconnect” and plan our communications; as such, given the family situation and obligations of our employees, work can easily be completed later at night or whenever they can find a quiet moment.

In short, with a little effort and imagination, and a lot of collaboration and compassion, we will surely be able to overcome this difficult situation that we all face. I hope that, in a few weeks, we will all be back at our offices to fraternize and deploy our efforts to resume the normal course of our activities. It will be important not to forget what will have happened and to continue to use certain means put in place during the crisis.

Until then, good luck and keep your spirits up.

By Jean Proulx