On Friday 13 March techUK closed its office to members, with staff moving to remote working from the following Monday. Closing our offices slightly ahead of trend was not a step that we took lightly, but one was that was done so to reduce potential exposure for staff, members and stakeholders, and also support wider social distancing measures that will be essential to slow the impact of COVID-19.
techUK is a cloud first organisation, providing staff with the tools, infrastructure and support to work remotely and efficiently. For the last three years we have been working to enhance the tools and encourage staff members to collaborate using the Cloud platform. Putting this into practice for all staff members, we can work seamlessly, enabling us to communicate across the organisation.
In continuing to deliver value to our members and supporting the Government through the pandemic, techUK has instated several internal measures to ensure both our 60 strong staff remain connected.
Continuing internal communication
Key to techUK ensuring we are coherent in delivering value to the tech sector is remaining connected internally. We use Microsoft Teams as a communication platform, which combines chat capabilities, video conferencing, file storage, and integration with many other Office 365 apps. Teams not only has a comprehensive web interface, but you can collaborate on the go using the mobile app. Throughout the day we have been using Microsoft Teams internally in ways such as:
- Daily ‘all-hands’.
Something that we would normally do fortnightly as an organisation within the office, we have now moved this to a remote video call every morning. An all-hands meeting is a regular, company-wide gathering where all staff meet with leadership to share updates and drive alignment, both COVID-19 related and business as usual.
- Communication channels.
Including ‘working from home FAQ’s’ and ‘COVID-19 news and tech stories.’ All staff have access to these channels, where they can share ideas and chat with one another. Throughout the year other channels also include ‘company policies and procedures’, ‘fantasy sports’ and of course ‘kitchen treats.’ Separate teams within the organisation also have their own channels for document sharing and chat.
- Buddy system.
In recognising that many staff have different situations at home, we have created a ‘buddy system’ whilst we work remotely. The purpose of this is to help keep people connected and talking across the organisation, replacing the type of non-work conversation you might have whilst getting a coffee in the morning. We have been asking staff to contact their buddy at least every other day, even if only for five minutes.
- Social activities
So far, we’ve held book clubs and Friday drinks online, and staff are also posting puzzles and brainteasers as well. Next step will include working out how to move to move tag rugby and 5 – aside football online….
Further information on how we are working with members to support the tech sector during the COVID-19 crisis can be found on our COVID-19 Information Hub.