Insights / Our COVID-19 Response

From Face-To-Face To The Virtual Space

22 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

I joined Kainos in August 2019 as a Graduate Software Engineer (and quickly transitioned to a Test Engineer on my first project), and within the year a lot has changed. Since March, we have been adapting to working from home due to COVID – from the toilet paper panic to puppies appearing in meetings, it’s been a long journey that’s worth reflecting on.

People are at the core of Kainos: our teams are driven by collaboration, coaching, and creativity. So how do you transfer these unique experiences from face-to-face in to the virtual space? The uncertainty around lockdown led team discussions around how can we maintain these core values that are so key to the Kainos culture. Each team has found a different approach that works for them, and each have the opportunity to evolve their new ways of working during lockdown. My experience of working from home during lockdown at Kainos in my project can be summarised by those three key points: collaboration, coaching, and creativity.


Collaboration

Before COVID, you could see collaboration across the office in whiteboards covered in sticky notes, team huddles, paired work, and group discussions. Collaboration is core to our way of working, so finding a medium that could maintain this same energy in an online space was important. Here are a few ways my team have found to help with maintaining this collaboration:

Coaching

Coaching and personal development is important throughout your whole time at Kainos. The pre-COVID methods of coaching have been translated to a distance-friendly approach using a wide variety of tools/methods, some of which are listed:

Creativity

The whole process of moving into lockdown has been a creative process of incorporating individuals’ needs, technical needs and user needs into a new way of working. Some of the methods I have mentioned in previous sections have a big overlap with creativity (e.g. collaboration, funretro, CodeTogether, Mural), but there’s only so much that can be fulfilled by tools. Creativity comes down to individuals, and supporting them and the team culture. The following points have helped to maintain the team culture, and the creativity of individuals:

Wellbeing

Arguably the most important factor of working from home is personal wellbeing. The BBC posted a useful article about ways of working during lockdown, and below are a few more points that have been encouraged in our team:

Going forward, as we work though these new ways of working, it’s important to always reflect back on our achievements – the challenges we’ve overcome, the changes in our mentality, how we’ve adapted to working from home, and so much more.


The experience of starting at Kainos during COVID may be different to previous years, but the support network and tools available in this transition will be sure to make it just as memorable, and just as welcoming. Especially in these new ways of working, sharing your experiences, knowledge, and skills is so important – even as a new joiner, your opinions are valued. If there are any methods or tools that you could add to the lists in this post, be sure to share with your team!