January 05, 2021
Staying connected in a period of disconnection
NashTech’s afternoon tea discussion session
At a time where the work-from-home (WFH) model is applied more commonly than it has ever been before, businesses worldwide are investigating ways and approaches to make the best out of this new practice, as well as overcome any challenges resulting from it.
In November, NashTech organised a virtual afternoon tea session, titled “Technology leaders in a post-COVID world”, where technology leaders gathered and discussed the future and the role of CIOs during the post-pandemic period.
The event was held digitally, via an online meeting platform, with a roundtable discussion format and featured the participation of 15 CIOs. A complementary afternoon tea package with scones, tea and cakes was delivered to the leaders beforehand.
The pandemic and its impacts
As disclosed in the recent Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020, which was published in October, there is a massive surge in remote working where 86% of survey respondents have moved their workforce from a more traditional approach to a remote way of working. Besides many clear opportunities, this has also broiught various challenges to businesses, especially to technology leaders.
The survey also revealed that 84% of technology leaders report they were concerned with the mental health of their team during the pandemic period due to the stress and anxiety resulting from social distancing, isolation and the global economic downturn. Also, during the afternoon tea discussion session, CIOs raised a point that, currently, many people are facing difficulties working from home since they don’t have a proper working environment set up. This is due to various reasons such as lack of a desk or equipment, noisy surroundings, shared rooms, etc.
This led to one of the biggest questions that CIOs discussed and tried to answer during the session: What are businesses doing to make their teams feel comfortable and valued?
Adaptation to changes
To address the issue related to employees’ mental health, 58% of Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey 2020 respondents already have programs put in place to support mental and emotional well-being of their workforce.
One of the attendees in the session shared that, due to the pandemic, employees have no longer been able to hang out and socialise with friends or colleagues after work. As a way to overcome this, the company has come up with a “digital” solution.
They organise a virtual get together on Friday nights by sending vouchers from Just Eat, a food delivery service, to employees along with drinks beforehand and invite people to join an online call to have a casual chat and catch up with each other.
CIOs also touched on other various activities to make their workforce feel comfortable and relieve the anxiety during the crisis such as virtual parties, gaming sessions, etc. People can gather on digital platforms for these activities and “mingle” in different rooms to talk to each other, play games or quizzes. These virtual team building activities have the power to make members working remotely feel tight-knit as communication and get together can mediate the effects of physical separation and, eventually, help ease anxiety and depression.
The afternoon tea session concluded with ideas and suggestions being actively discussed by the technology leaders. Together, they gave a unique insight into the before, during, and continuing aftermath of COVID.
With the success of the first session, NashTech looks forward to future arrangements where technology leaders can gather and discuss the most heated topics relevant to the sector. This is part of NashTech’s endeavor to facilitate the growth of the IT industry worldwide.