Working from home: How OF/BY/FOR ALL is helping us adjust our working practices
We recently shared the results of an internal webinar we ran at Europeana with the aim of supporting organisation-wide remote working. In this post, we also want to share the approach that underpinned this webinar, and how the philosophy of OF/BY/FOR ALL is shaping our approach to supporting staff.
For some people working from home is difficult; for others, a great opportunity. As offices around the world have been closed, we’ve been reading lots of advice about the best way to work from home, including from our colleagues at Creative Commons and the DPLA, who make working remotely the default.
Working remotely requires different practices than working in person and we have been exploring ways to help our colleagues find approaches that work for them, bearing in mind that we are also living through a very challenging period. So at Europeana, we have been sharing tips and tricks for working from home through a dedicated Slack channel, and we wanted to explore other ways that we could come together as an office and share ideas on how to adapt to our new working reality.
Over the past few months a small team at the Europeana Foundation have been exploring ways to refine and adapt our office-wide working practices and some of the challenges we experience with them. Our team is a small group of colleagues who are keen to explore different working practices and feel empowered to make the time to contribute. We work on the principles of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a movement and non-profit organisation which aims to help civic and cultural institutions around the world become of, by, and for their diverse communities. There are many ways to apply this, but we have started with using it to explore ways to support our own evolving organisational culture from our perspectives as participants, and champion a collaborative approach to developing ideas and addressing issues.
Recently, we trialled a new internal presentation format of 30 minute explainer sessions held before our monthly office drinks. The idea for the session was to dedicate time in our schedules where the office could come together and hear about what our colleagues have been working on. Considering the recent events, our team decided to run an explainer session bringing together formal guidance from our management team with office-sourced tips and tricks on working from home.
Planning the session
Bearing in mind that what had started out as a format for in-person presentations was now going to be virtual, we set out a few design principles:
We started by highlighting the guidelines we received from the Senior Management Team, a useful reminder to everyone in our organisation is working to support each other
We co-curated the slide deck, with everyone drawing a bit from our own experiences, articles we have been reading, and tips shared by our colleagues.
We’d keep it shorter than the scheduled 30 minutes, as we all learned quickly that back-to-back virtual meetings are pretty draining.
We also wanted to make it as easy as possible for colleagues to join the session, so we ran two - one on Friday afternoon, and one the following Monday morning.
What we shared
Mindful that everyone is having a different experience, we looked within our team for personal recommendations we could share - reflecting the type of conversations we are used to having in our office. Explore the presentation in our article for Europeana Pro.
Webinars, online presentations - whatever you want to call them - are new to a lot of us. But we know that our sessions went really smoothly because we prepared; we scheduled a 60 minute run-through so we could agree on content, order and who presents what. We heard what each other would say, checked the logistics of who controls the slides, who documents the questions in the chat screen, and also importantly checked we would keep to time.
We were buoyed by the positive feedback we got from our colleagues. We shared the slide deck afterwards and encouraged everyone to keep sharing what they learn with each other through our Slack channel. And finally we thought about how we can share this experience with our Network of partners and professionals. We know that we’re all trying to find different approaches to connecting with each other, and hope that sharing this presentation can support others in doing the same. We’ll be working to refine, develop and grow our ideas on ways of working that are OF, BY and FOR our staff and communities, and hope to share more in the near future!