As Head of Delivery for Capital Markets, Ciara McConkey splits her time between Neueda’s Belfast headquarters and the offices of clients across the globe. However, since the COVID-19 lockdown, traditional methods of interaction and collaboration are no longer possible. Here, Ciara discusses the impact that remote working has had on the Neueda team dynamic and project delivery.
Given that Neueda already had a remote working policy in place pre-COVID-19, we were in a good position to mobilise quickly. While we had an effective business continuity plan in place, the biggest challenge came from the impact that remote working would have on the relationships we’d built with our clients and each other.
We knew that establishing communication protocols would be crucial in helping us reinforce a sense of normality for the team and offer comfort and stability for our clients. The latter was particularly important considering Neueda’s client base is global, and each country was at a different stage of the pandemic.
We began with daily video meetings with our internal delivery managers to ensure that our people were adequately set up for home working and remained motivated during this time. From the beginning, it was vital that we maintained regular communication and made clear what was expected of everyone. Secondly, we wanted to reassure clients that we would be as productive as before, which we demonstrated through our regular meetings and demos. Once our ‘new normal’ was established in terms of processes and client touch-points, the daily meetings were reduced to twice weekly.
Establishing slick processes and a clear communication strategy early doors not only ensured that our Capital Markets projects could continue as planned but also freed up more time for strategic thinking. Now, we have the bandwidth to cover ideas that had once been benched in favour of reactive work and have been able to explore ways our clients can remain resilient and continue innovating in a post-COVID world.
We’ve also witnessed remote working spark more meaningful connections with Neueda’s remote teams. Our people in Malaga, for instance, now feel closer to the Belfast team due to the more regular use of video conferencing, with both stating that it’s promoted a greater sense of camaraderie and togetherness. As a direct result, the Neueda management team has concluded that video conferencing must become a permanent fixture after its instrumental role in bringing everyone closer and ensuring effective project delivery during this time.
We have proved that virtual teams work, which is why we’ll continue to trust our employees who have proven themselves time and time again in remote environments. We’re particularly lucky that remote working has worked for a long time at Neueda, albeit not to this scale before, and we’re excited to continue operating this way, for the sake of our projects, people and clients.