Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Friday, August 6, 2021

Back To (The New) Normal

Here in Ontario, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – Covid infections have dropped and flattened out, vaccination rates are climbing, and maybe, just maybe, ‘N-Day’ is coming in August, the day that most Covid restrictions are lifted in the province and everything goes back to normal.
  For our branches in British Columbia and Quebec, things are on a similar track.

ut not everything will be all “2019 Normal” ever again.

n March of 2020, when the pandemic hit Canada, we scrambled to move everyone out of the office – it was a huge shock to our collective system, and a huge change to the way we do things.  It was hard in the beginning, not just from a tech support standpoint, but for culture and organization of how we do things.  We’ve coped over the last 15 months, and it hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve had it better than some companies, we’ve hung in there and even grown a bit.  I don’t mind saying, folks giving 110% from home, some superhuman efforts by our IT team, having a multi-branch environment and way too much internet bandwidth, along with Slack already being used for internal messaging, made it all possible.

o, now that N-Day is almost here, do we ring a bell on August 15 and call everyone back into the office again, full time, like nothing’s happened?  Of course not – we’ve had people step up, take on new challenges, train new people, and launch new initiatives, all while isolated in their basements or home offices.  Almost everyone excelled at working from home, so why not continue it?

ell, some things need to return to normal to some degree – mail and faxes physically arrive, banking needs to be done in person, our IT folks are a little strung out maintaining an extra layer of complexity with everyone’s remote connection, and our culture and new staff training has strained a bit, because some things are just better handled face-to-face.  On top of that, some people are going a little squirrely, and want to come back into the office for a change of scenery.  As well, we are waiting for what the provincial and state regulators are going to say about WFH and what’s allowed in our industry.

ut let’s say we get our own way and no one forces us to bring everyone back – folks should be able to work from home more than from the office.  We don’t need them physically inside our four walls, they’ve reinforced their already proven trustworthiness and ability to self manage. 

e’re working on a plan on how much time folks need to work from home, when new staff can transition from in the office to mostly from home (should they choose), and when to call people back in if they are struggling – and we’re going to make it clear, simple, and kind to people.

Our plan will be to outline how many days a month they should be in the office, and leave it up to the individual team members to manage when they work in the office, and when they work from home.  New people can move to work from home as soon as they get a positive monthly review.  Simple.  
Trust folks to manage themselves, give them a support network, a dedicated work area (not a shared computer like an internet café), set a minimum amount of face time required to maintain training and culture and connection, and the rest of the time, leave everyone to do what they are good at.

 talked to someone in our collection industry, and they said they knew that their staff will revolt and many will leave their company when they call folks back because it means 2+ hours of commuting a day ... but it sounds like they will call people back anyway. 

indsight is 20/20 …. we should have been doing this all along.

Change is upon us, whether we like it or not.  New employees looking for work are going to want a WFH option, and it will be as important to their wellbeing and happiness as a pension or flexible schedule.  People work to live, not live to work, and if we can balance it with the in person stuff that needs to happen, they’ll stay with us, long term.

houghts on work from home plans, and what our new normal will be?  Interested in other folks in our industry and what they are going to do in the near future…

Thanks kindly,

lair DeMarco-Wettlaufer
INGSTON Data & Credit
ambridge, Ontario

1 comment:

  1. It's all about trust. If you trust your employees, you will let them WFH. In the past, WFH used to be a luxury for high skilled jobs like Information Technology and also for top executives in companies. Even during pandemic, many agencies did not bother about employee's health, commute issues and made them work in the office. It's the strict lock down and stay home measures from the province, due to which, those agencies had to let their employees WFH. Otherwise, the situation won't have changed. Many employees who basically pay rent and live with their landlords (different floor of the house), had to purchase separate internet just for this WFH. I doubt how many of those agencies compensated the employees for that internet plan or utilities (not even expecting). Employees continued their work and kept generating revenues. Obviously there were security issues for sensitive data of client and consumer. I have not heard of any mishap on this due to WFH till date though. Now after vaccination we still see covid numbers rising due to some reason. However, as there is no stay home order, these agencies are calling those employees back to work right away, not thinking about health risk and commute issues. The same employees, who continued to work hard from home with honesty. No acknowledgement from the employer though. Had there been trust from the agencies, these employees would have still worked from home. Sure you talked to someone in the industry and the person knew this would happen, still they will call people anyway? You know the reason why, no trust, hence they never bothered and never will.