Changing roles in a pandemic

In 2020 eir NI’s then newly appointed regional director, Philip O’Meara, faced the task of starting his role leading a team of 26 without meeting any of them in person. In this blog, Philip talks about his strategy for getting to know and engage with his team remotely, and highlights the technology trends that are making the new work model possible.

When we start a new job we go through an induction phase where we get to know the people and business through many formal and informal meetings. Taking up my role in 2020 when everyone was working remotely meant this wouldn’t be a business-as-usual induction. It was challenging but I was determined to establish good working relationships with my 26-person team and my many colleagues across the wider organisation.

Over communicate

In the absence of face-to-face contact I focused on frequent communications. From my start date, weekly calls with a contact within eir made sure I had access to the people and information I needed. Having someone to point me in the right direction before and during the induction phase was invaluable and meant I was able to hit the ground running.

During my first week I called everyone on my team individually for an introduction and chat. I opted for voice calls, which can sometimes feel more comfortable than video to begin with. We then had a video town hall at the end of that first week. This group video call was a good opportunity to outline our goals. We have continued with the townhalls every four weeks or so and they have evolved into a forum for team members to share updates and discuss challenges and opportunities. I’ve also put in place a weekly management meeting with my direct reports to ensure all functions are aligned across the NI business.

Preparing for a hybrid workplace

Now I’m six months into my role I, like everyone else, am looking for ways to work more effectively in this virtual environment. Much has been written about the hybrid model of work, which is expected to prevail – blending remote and in-office working. We are now planning for this future, for ourselves at eir and for our customers.

The importance of omni-channel communications will continue to escalate and customer service in particular will rely on Unified Communications (UC) to operate across locations and channels – voice, text, chat and social media. A robust, feature-rich UC solution helps ensure the customer experience and service levels are the same across channels and locations.

The traditional office will likely transition to more of a hot-desking model that is more flexible and efficient. Priorities for office space may change, with areas freed up for collaboration rather than everyone having their traditional individual desk space. Technology will play a key role with systems for booking desks and meeting rooms, and with audio-visual solutions to make meetings accessible to those at home as well as those in the room.

Underscoring all of this change is the move to the cloud, whether that’s a public, private or hybrid cloud. In this flexible workplace where employees can move freely between home and the office, we need data and systems to be readily available and secure, and that is next to impossible without migrating to the cloud.

Organisations are looking to technology to help them create a user experience that is as seamless as possible. As a result of eir’s recent merger with technology group Evros, we now have that end-to-end offering for this new way of working. From Unified Communications to cloud applications and enterprise-grade data security, we’re in a unique position to help Irish businesses effectively manage the transition to the workplace 2.0.