When the Zoom background game is strong – Team uMotif go 100% remote

As part of our annual Business Continuity Plan (BCP) test last Tuesday (10th March) all of Team uMotif were asked to work from home. The test was successful with all departments proving that business operations can be maintained despite team members not being co-located in our London office.

Only a few days later with the news of the escalating COVID-19 outbreak we made the decision to close the office and have the team work 100% remotely for an extended period of time. This ensures we diminish the risk to our team, and our families, whilst ensuring we support the UK Government’s advice.

Although the test run was successful, and we are confident in our set up to work remotely, the decision was not taken lightly because we know the advantages that come with working together in the same office, which is why we are not a fully remote workforce.

So, as we sit in our new work environments at our new desks (some at kitchen benches, others at dining tables) how are we doing? And what measures are we taking to keep morale and productivity high?

Each Monday morning, we host our MMM (Monday Morning Meeting, original we know) where we gather as an entire company to align for 15 minutes on the week’s objectives. This week was our first 100% fully virtual MMM. The whole team joined the meeting via Zoom to find the agenda ran smoothly and each item was addressed. We also included a suggestion on what to watch on TV whilst practicing social distancing – “Love Is Blind” (no judgement please).

To ensure “over communication” our departments are meeting on a daily basis to enable chats that typically happen over a colleague’s desk to take place and to provide people with a forum to raise topics for discussion rather than email threads.

We have created new instant messenger channels for folk to carry on their “coffee machine talk” and we have moved our famous uMotif Pet Corner to not only be virtual but live streamed!

And of course, the parallels are being drawn between our current work situation and the technology we design and build for patients and our customers.

The uMotif platform enables virtual studies and trials to take place. We often discuss patients who cannot enrol on research studies, who are unable to physically attend research sites and hospitals, and now here we are unable to get to our office. The frustration is not comparable but if we didn’t feel strongly enough about it before these recent days are amplifying our goal to power more virtual research.

Tuesday evening the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor discussed the pace at which the COVID-19 vaccination trial is able to move at compared to a few years ago. We applaud the volunteers and look forward to the same speed being applied to future research thanks to technological advancements and not a worldwide pandemic as a forcing factor.

As we pull together in this trying time we stand as individuals and a team to help wherever we can.