Surviving Working from Home During COVID19
Once our final guests had departed we requested all of our team of guides to take 14 days leave of absence to self isolate, they were the guys after all that had remained on the front line with no question and we needed to ensure that not only they but their family and friends were not at risk. Since then we have been requested by the Government and HPA to ‘stay home’ and so that is what we need to do.
Staying at home, let alone working from home is an unheard concept for a tour guide, so we asked one of our senior guides, Kokko Ibbe to tell us a little about how he felt.
Working from home is a completely new approach for us at Secret Paradise, as it no doubt is to many of you around the world. Like many people who work in the travel and tourism industry, a normal day at the office for the Secret Paradise guide team would be centered on people and providing memorable guest experiences. This lack of social interaction, together with the fact that they are no longer able to be out and about enjoying our beautiful environment has meant the adjustment to working from home has not been as easy task.
As you can probably imagine, especially if you have traveled with any member of the team, sitting at a desk with their laptop or just pen and paper is not their idea of fun, especially if it does not involve PUBG! We realised very early on that if working from home was going to be successful it meant figuring out how to ensure the team stayed on task in an environment that may not lend itself to their productivity. But as we have discovered there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy!
Communication and positivity has been key to keeping the team spirit alive.
- Each guide receives a Team Talk email to start the day. This may include business updates, positivity quotes or just something to raise a smile. The boss keeps referring to the film Good Morning Vietnam, something to do with voices in her head, Robin Williams she tells us, but way way before our time!
- Every day each guide shares what they have achieved the previous day, what their objective is for the day and what obstacles or challenges they may have that they need support with.
- A weekly conference call is held to discuss progress on assignments or brainstorm ideas. We have also had a couple of guest appearances from business partners!
- Everyday a different member of the team has the responsibility to call each of their colleagues and check all is well, this is one of my favourite parts of the day.
- Assignments are shared so that up to 4 individuals may be working on the same project together encouraging interaction and allowing some team banter.
- The team Viber group is buzzing not just with work related issues but with memes and moments of laughter!
It is definitely hard not seeing colleagues personally and catching up over coffee. I miss being able to just jump into the ocean or share island life. Working from home is a new experience for us all and yes it has been challenging. But with the support of colleagues and with inspiring leadership we will come through this and we will all have learnt something from it.