Chris Porter
5 New Team Initiatives We Introduced at Camwood in 2020

Disclaimer: Camwood has tried to ensure that a minimal amount of 2020 buzz words have been used in this blog.

2020, what a year. It’s important to start by saying that I’m incredibly proud and grateful for our brilliant teams, for their tenacity, dedication, and hard work, which was critical to us navigating the twists and turns of last year. Every business had to make huge changes to adapt and I’m pleased to say that we were able to continue maintain our business under such incredibly difficult circumstances. One of the main things to come out of last year was the need to think creatively for our team and our clients, in order to minimise disruption and most importantly support our customers as they navigated their own monumental operational challenges and concerns.

Across our three organisations Camwood, NexBotix, and Infinity, our main priority throughout last year was providing our people with the right support for them to excel in their roles. In this blog, I’m going to share some of the new initiatives we introduced to make sure our teams feel connected, supported, and ultimately engaged, ready for growth in 2021.

  1. 10-at-10 

One of the things that became apparent quickly to us when we first moved to remote working was that our team was missing the small, daily team interactions that come naturally when you’re all working in an office. Conversations between colleagues who perhaps weren’t working directly together disappeared overnight. Unless you had a Teams meeting scheduled with someone about a specific topic, it could be weeks between seeing members of the wider team. To combat this, we implemented our weekly 10-at-10 session on a Friday morning (at 10 am- of course), in a bid to recreate the kitchen coffee break that we would normally have together. Each week, we nominate a member of the team to speak about something they’ve been working on, like an interesting client project or a pitch for example. It’s now a highlight of our week with the conversation often flowing to something completely unrelated to work, which was exactly what we’d hoped for!

  1. Health and Wellbeing – weekly Pilates 

Although working from home can have many perks, one of the main concerns was ensuring our team was looking after their physical and mental health during the various restrictions throughout 2020. Along with encouraging the team to take regular exercise breaks during the working day, we also organised a weekly Pilates class run by Fotia Wellbeing for the whole team, across Camwood, NexBotix and Infinity.

It’s been a huge hit with the team, with a high attendance and a great excuse to take a break from work to de-stress.   A number of people are now looking to add additional fitness classes for themselves too.

  1. Remote-first (permanently)  

We were incredibly proud of the team and the way we pulled together during 2020. We were fortunate enough to maintain a steady flow of client contracts and projects throughout the year and were able to hire  new team members. We closely monitored the impact that remote working had on the team’s productivity and engagement whilst regularly communicating with our customers to ensure we were still able to deliver outstanding services to them.

The overall performance was better than we hoped and we quickly realised that many members of our team were thriving under the new conditions, particularly as many of them now didn’t have to make a long commute into our office in the City of London. After many consultations with the team, long conversations with our clients to make sure we could effectively support them and with some serious planning from our operations team, we decided to take the plunge and make our remote-first set up, more permanent by ending our tenancy agreement with our office landlords. For Camwood and our sister companies, Infinity and NexBotix, a hybrid-working model was the clear preference for our team, so later on in 2021 we’ll be trialing a split between working from home and a co-working space for important team meetings and companywide sessions.

  1. Virtual events  

We understood from the very beginning of the pandemic that boosting our team morale and encouraging connectivity would be key to our success over the months ahead. Throughout 2020 we had a variety of events including two quarterly kick off sessions, our new brand launch, a variety of client engagement events and our Christmas party to execute virtually for the first time. The relevant teams worked very hard to find a variety of suppliers to help us make these as engaging as possible, from virtual escape rooms, Christmas hampers, bottles of fizz to celebrate our rebrand, to a virtual game of Guess Who and virtual magic show at our Christmas party. The details big and small all contributed to the success of these virtual events and although nothing quite beats being together in person, we successfully delivered some memorable experiences that rewarded our team for all their hard work throughout the year. We also found that bringing the teams together on regular occasions allowed the newer members of the team to get to know their colleagues in a similar manner to meeting up after work.

  1. Buddy up system for new starters 

Throughout 2020, we welcomed 12 new starters to our businesses which really pushed us to create an engaging remote onboarding process so they felt like part of the team straight away. Beyond having the right equipment, meeting the wider members of the team and having a robust training schedule in place, we began to think about the ongoing support for our new team members to help them find their feet, which lead us to trialing a buddy-up system. It’s still early stages, but in essence, the new joiner is paired with a colleague outside of their team and they become their main point of contact for general questions over their first few months. We’ve found that putting them in touch with a peer meant they could ask more open questions that they perhaps wouldn’t want to take to their line manager in those early days in their role. The initial feedback has been great and we’re looking to implement this with every new member of the team we hire in 2021.

As we move into 2021, despite the fact we’re in another national lockdown, we’ve got our eyes firmly set on the future and how we can support our remote teams drive our business forward. Last quarter, we successfully launched eight new Modern Workplace accelerators designed to help businesses review their solution deployment and implementation, with a variety of corresponding Managed Services so we can provide ongoing support to our clients through the next period of recovery in 2021. This quarter, there is more where that came from, with lots of new services coming from Camwood, taking our Intelligent Automation business NexBotix to the next level and securing more clients for Infinity, so watch this space!

Chris Porter is the CEO at Camwood.
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