Coronavirus forces “world’s largest work-from-home experiment”
Clear communication is crucial for a successful work-form-home transition
WITH EMPLOYERS SCRAMBLING, planning and bracing for the fallout from the novel coronavirus, some are already calling it the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment.”
As London retailers, hotels and restaurant begin to grapple with plunging foot traffic over the coming days and weeks, closing schools and the call to “social distance” ourselves means that working from home will no longer be a privilege for many London professionals — it’s going to become a necessity.
The good news for many businesses is that technology has evolved so much in recent years that working remotely doesn’t necessarily have to impact output — and some experts say that working from home can even increase productivity.
That said, many employees will be working from home for the first time during these turbulent times, which means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. But there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy, from setting up a good workspace to the way you talk to your team. Here are a few tips:
Crank up the communication
Coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is clear communication with managers and coworkers — and knowing exactly what’s expected of you.
Most people spend their days in close proximity to coworkers and managers, meaning communication is easy and effortless. But that’s all out the window with remote work, and breakdown is even more likely if your workplace isn’t used to remote working. What’s more, managers might not be used to managing people virtually, or your company might not have a ready-to-go suite communication of tools for remote workers.
It helps tremendously if as much of it as possible can be “richer” communication that’s face-to-face and instant, such as video calls. Consider engaging with key contacts via a short call to kick off the day and wrap up the day. The very best remote workers have a habit of reaching out to coworkers and managers on a regular basis though a variety of tools.
Treat it like a real job
If you don’t have a home office, do as much as you can to create an ad hoc, bespoke space exclusively for work. This also serves as an important signal to those who live with you that you’re “at work.”
Create boundaries within your home so that partners, family members and roomies understand when the door is closed, you’re at work. With a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate, it becomes easier to unlock the benefits of remote work.
Avoid feeling isolated
Even with modern tech tools, the enforced and abrupt nature of the transition from an office to a home environment can leave some struggling to get accustomed to the change.
And with coronavirus, it’s not clear how long people will be at home, which poses additional problems. Parents, for example, will find working harder if children are at home because schools are closed, meaning close communication with managers — who will need to be understanding — is vital.
Experts suggest trying to sustain a semblance of normalcy and camaraderie in unconventional ways, like virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours where people dial in and share a cocktail on Skype or Slack. In short, be sure to add a little bit of levity and lightness to the otherwise difficult environment.
Keep spirits up
Make no mistake, we’ve been quickly thrust into stressful times. Negative headlines, worrying about sick or elderly loved ones and fighting the urge to go panic buying for toilet paper can all put answering work emails on the back burner. But the more effort you put into communicating with colleagues, the better chance you have of avoiding feelings of isolation, which can lead to depression.
Solutions to this include as much face-to-face interaction online as possible through video and phone calls, regular manager check-ins – especially to those employees who live alone and might feel more isolated – and regular meetings with no agenda, like grabbing coffee or a drink.
If you’re a manager, it’s on you to provide clear communication and it’s also crucial to keep up morale. That’s particularly key if people end up working from home for more than a few weeks, which is a distinct possibility. Set up a norm of some kind — and keep spirits up.
Davis Martindale announces move to Westmount Commons
Davis Martindale employees outside of their current Commissioners Road West office
AFTER 20 YEARS at 373 Commissioners Road West, accounting firm Davis Martindale will be moving to a new location in Westmount Commons, a new business development at Westmount Shopping Centre, this fall.
The space, which will be situated above a Fit 4 Less gym, will centralize all of Davis Martindale’s services and staff and provide capacity for future growth. Founded in 1967, the firm expanded its current office eight years ago and added a satellite office three years ago, but its continuous growth to over 100 employees has led to the need for more space.
“This move couldn’t come at a better time for Davis Martindale and its clients,” said Davis Martindale managing partner, Rick Santos. “The decision to relocate from our iconic building was essential to accommodate our growing team. We also needed to ensure accessibility, modernization and convenience for our clients, and Westmount Commons ticked all the boxes.”
Construction of the new 26,000-square-foot space is expected to begin in June. The firm’s current space is approximately 17,000 square feet.
New Indiva edibles collaboration to add 20 jobs to London facility
Photo: Indiva Limited will produce and distribute Wana Brands edible cannabis products in Canada
LONDON CANNABIS PRODUCER Indiva Limited announced Tuesday it has established a collaboration with Colorado-based Wana Brands to bring its original cannabis-infused products to Canada.
Wana Brands is a U.S. edibles company selling product in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon, and it is teaming up with Indiva to enter its first international market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Indiva will have exclusive rights to produce and distribute Wana products in Canada. Indiva intends to begin production of Wana’s cannabis-infused gummies as soon as possible and will add up to 20 new jobs to staff a new production line at its Hargrieve Road plant.
“Wana stands out from the field for its consistency, quality and innovation,” said Niel Marotta, Indiva’s president and CEO. “We are proud to be Wana’s exclusive Canadian partner. We are building a portfolio of proven, trusted brands and intend to be the producer of choice for global cannabis companies looking for a collaborative partner that is passionate about creating the very best cannabis products. We look forward to working closely with Wana’s leadership team to bring their much-beloved premium edibles to Canadians in the very near future.”
“Canada is an important market for Wana and a gateway to international expansion,” added Wana Brands CEO, Nancy Whiteman. “We’ve been searching for the past two years for the perfect Canadian partner, and we found that with Indiva. We look forward to bringing to Canada a decade of cannabinoid expertise, as well as leading edge innovation that Wana products are known for.”
In addition to the upcoming Wana Brands production, Indiva has an existing joint-venture agreement with Florida-based Bhang Inc. and produces a line of cannabis-infused chocolates for the Canadian market.
VMP extension to pave way for additional business locations
Photo: 740 homes changed hands in February in the London reporting region
A 1.5-KILOMETRE EXTENSION of London’s Veterans Memorial Parkway (VMP) is set to begin this spring.
Earlier this week, London’s works committee approved a tendered contract for just over $11 million to extend the road from its current end, at Huron Street, north to Clarke Road just south of Kilally road and near the current turnoff to Fanshawe Conservation Area.
The extension will create a new four-way signalled intersection at the entrance to the conservation area, as well as a multi-use path connection to the Ted Early Sports Complex on the west side of Clarke Road. The extension will be two lanes wide but is designed with an option to widen it by two more lanes in the future.
“Investments of this type of infrastructure will certainly be helpful in attracting new companies and jobs,” said Kapil Lakhotia, CEO of London Economic Development Corp., in an interview with CBC News. Lakhotia added that the VMP’s links to the airport, Highway 401 and the city’s industrial parks plays a crucial role in attracting new businesses to the city, particularly in manufacturing, food services and aviation.
The Huron Industrial Park, planned for the corner of Huron Street and Robins Hill Road, will have 100 acres for new businesses, and Lakhotia said he expects properties in the area will be up for sale “very shortly.”
The work on the extension is expected to wrap up before the end of the year. The project will include new sewers on Huron Street on either side of VMP and upgrades to the highway between Oxford and Huron streets, valued at an additional $3.2 million. Final fixes, including new asphalt on Huron Street, will be added in 2021.
The VMP will be closed from Huron Street to Oxford Street for six to eight weeks. During the closure, north-south traffic between Oxford and Huron will be routed west to Clarke Road and east to Robin’s Hill Road.
Featured Business Event
Demystifying Disabilities | March 26, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Factory, 100 Kellogg Lane
Hutton House presents an evening of food, drink, networking and interactive disability discussion at The Factory.
This event will showcase and highlight the fiscal benefits to hiring people with disabilities. The keynote speaker is Joe Hoffer, a London lawyer and partner with Cohen Highley LLP. Joe Hoffer has hired people with a disability in his own office because he knows the benefits it has to his bottom line. Come learn how he knows this and all about the legalities of hiring and firing people with a disability, what to do if you have a union and many other legal myths around hiring and firing
In addition a three-person panel of employers to give insight on their industry experience in hiring (and firing) those with disabilities. The panel includes Lino Tesolin of Lowe’s, Mona Lam-Deslippe of MLD Solutions and Melissa Maloney of GoodLife Fitness.