Several businesses worldwide face challenges because of the COVID-19 epidemic and the related protective measures. Companies with the capability to enable working from home (thanks to the nature of their activities) were eager to facilitate it. Other organizations had to create a safe working environment on the spot quickly and effectively, while others needed to rethink their operations entirely to continue working during these difficult times.
Our company is one of the lucky ones. We had the chance to react quickly without interrupting our projects or daily tasks. Our employees switched to home office all around the world seamlessly in mid-March (this was already an option in a few positions). However, this doesn’t mean that the transition was without its challenges.
To provide a little insight into our day-to-day operations, we’ve asked some of our team members how they see the present situation, how they are affected by the changes, how they try to tackle the newly emerged hurdles.
First, we discussed these questions with our Business Development Executive in the CEE region, Cintia, who also gives our readers some tips and directions focusing on the Hungarian market.
How do you see the transition to home office within the company?
At our company, the conditions for working from home have already been available. Our colleagues can work from basically anywhere, where there is stable wi-fi and a relatively quiet environment. We have team-mates in several countries, so we often use online tools for communication and cooperation. All in all, this is not a radical change for us. Of course, it also depends on your personality and preferences, how you feel about having to create this quiet environment for work away from the workplace.
All necessary data is accessible from home. In my case, these are documents, quotations, emails, task manager, project history, all at the same place.
Nevertheless, it is also part of your job to meet clients and potential clients, many of whom prefer meeting in person. In your experience, how do they handle that meetings have moved online?
There are little hurdles – for example, once a prospective client’s conferencing software crashed in the middle of a presentation, and by the time we reconnected, we had lost some of the participants. But all in all, online meetings can be managed amazingly well from home. There are companies who could go through with the transition immediately, almost seamlessly. And there are others, who struggle more due to the lack of experience.
There are a lot of solutions available on the market for managing tenders and online meetings. At the moment, everyone is committed to different apps and solutions. If you want to participate in such an event, you must be able to use all these applications instantly. If one has no experience with the given system, one might find it puzzling initially.
What is the most challenging aspect of the current situation for you? How do you try to tackle it?
This is a serious economic crisis; plenty of businesses have lost 70% to 90% of their order volume from one week to another. Priorities have changed, some business have suspended their investment and development plans to concentrate on more urgent issues. Others are afraid to invest in new solutions because of the unstable outlook.
I’m trying to focus on businesses who want to escape forward, invest in the future, or need software development to continue their daily operations. We aspire to find payment terms that are more manageable for the clients during these changing times. We offer flexible payment terms whenever possible to purchase the solutions developed for them, or we make monthly “renting” available for solutions where it is applicable.
The crucial part is to learn what the client really needs right now. This is how a solution can be developed quickly to ensure the daily operation or the escape forward. Everything is changing so rapidly; the same amount of time is no longer available to start a new web-shop or to carry out market research. That doesn’t mean shelving all plans, but only scoping things sharper.