The last few weeks have been crazy times with COVID-19 spreading throughout the world, and this week the government has introduced a closing of all non-essential services. Whilst this is positive for stopping the spread of the virus, we know this impacts many in our community. We are hearing from many of you about the challenges around delivering your essential services to the community, but also balancing the need to keep your employees and those you care for, safe from the virus. We thought we would provide some tips to help you to collaborate and work safer in a COVID-19 world. Ideas for safer team collaboration Video or phone calls instead of face to face discussions Is there really anything that you can’t do now via video that you can face to face? We find Zoom and Google Hangouts are the best services for online meetings. Both are reliable, have the ability to share what is on your screen and can have many different participants collaborating at once. Zoom has some cool added features like being able to break-out into smaller meeting rooms for group discussions and then return to the larger meeting discussion after. Both offer the ability to record your meetings, which makes it easy for collating the meeting minutes or catching people up that couldn’t make the online meeting when it was scheduled.
Running online workshops, co-designing and collaborating
We use a website called MIRO for this. It is an amazing tool that lets you set up virtual whiteboards and workspaces. You can have multiple users working in the same online collaboration space and use virtual post-it notes, write on the board, draw images, insert shapes, all sorts of things. It’s just like running a real ‘hands-on’ workshop but online. At the end of the meeting, you can also download the work you have done into a pdf document, which is a great way to document what you created. We have ran co-design and human centred design projects with people all over the world using this tool. It is perfect for the current situation as it really brings the ability to take a face to face workshop online, without losing a lot of the functionality you get face to face. Are your desktop publishing programs shareable and editable online?
We use Google Docs rather than traditional offline desktop publishing programs like Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The reason why? We can be on a phone call and edit a document together and it is like we are in the same room. There are no issues with version control and everything is updated in real-time. Microsoft also offers this through their Office 365 suite for traditional word processing programs like Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Ideas for how to adapt your services to keep the people you care for and your employees safe
Create a process map of your services to uncover all of the face to face touchpoints We suggest creating a process map of your key services and highlighting all of the different face to face touchpoints. Once you have the list of face to face touchpoints, run an online brainstorming session with your teams, to think about different ways you can provide these services that don’t require as much face to face contact, then implement the new ideas. Can design play a role in eliminating close contact? A good example of this is how restaurants are remaining open by setting up new takeaway or delivery methods that avoid close contact with others or any touching of the equipment. For example, some are removing cash transactions and having the EFTPOS machine on a bench that sits on the side of the counter with the customer, rather than the side of the restaurant employees. Are there ways you can redesign your services that are smarter and avoid contact? At impacto, we are very much still in business over this period, we are just doing things differently. If you have concerns about how you will be able to continue to deliver your services, whilst keeping your employees safe, reach out. We would love to help the best way we can. Whilst the government and health professionals get things under control over the next few months and beyond, we will all need to be innovative in our approach to our service delivery. But I'm confident with the right thinking, we can all make it work.