Working from home!
Since March 13, our country has come to a standstill. Working from home feels surreal for a lot of us. Most of us want to work from home more often, want to spend less time in traffic and more time with their kids. However, after 33 days of confinement, we’re having fond memories of small talk at the coffee machine, or an inspiring park bench conversation during lunch.
At Oxypoint we miss each other too! That’s why we introduced hour-one and hour-done video calls to keep in touch. We share our to-do lists, we inspire each other and help each other out. Tackling the daily problems becomes a team effort. At Oxypoint, we’re always looking forward. Even from our homes we are creative enough to lift the spirits.
We’re all familiar with the interface of at least one video chat application (no product placement here). At Oxypoint, we use them several times a day, but we make sure we switch up the backgdrop every time. On top of staying informed about plants, children and people’s desk feng shui, we always make room for a jack in the box.
In order to make quarantine a little more exciting, we make sure that every day there is a new video call challenge. Some examples:
- Introduce a special guest.
- Introduce your collegue with the help of your background picture.
- Dress to impress.
- Dress up like you’re leaving for your favourite destination.
- Portray a classic Flemish song.
Some of you might think ‘wow, they sure have a lot of time’. That’s beside the point. We see the fun factor as a necessity.
CEO and leader of the pack Wout Van Roost: “We use a very specific approach for our virtual moments of contact. As CEO, I make sure there is a balance between constructive and critical notes.”
“The world is going through a crisis. The news is full of negativity. There is no balance. By leaving more room for constructive thought, and making space for everyone’s personality, a positive atmosphere is preserved in everyone’s living room. It’s not easy, things are busy and move fast, and a part of non-verbal communication is lost. Without fun, stress levels would reach unseen highs. It takes a lot of creativity to keep all the noses in the same direction. But I still have some tricks up my sleave.”
Like everything at Oxypoint, the methodology Wout uses was made in a lab. Wout developed it and marketed it with a Dutch business partner.
Oxypoint co-founder Philip traveled to The Netherlands to master the method. Today the method is widely applied to preserve team productivity in the company, to great results.
“There’s a wide variety of personalities in our team. We are able to complement one another when things get stressful”, says Wout. “In addition, the element of fun ensures a climate in which serendipity, innovation and new ideas come to life. That’s not rocket science.”
There is more where that came from
“The approach sprouted in Brasil. A professor inspired me with his philosophy. But at the time, it was not peer-reviewed and there was no empirical evidence to back it up. But the seed was planted and I embraced the philosophy.”
“The base of the philosophy is a climate that allows fun.”
“Negative stress destroys an entrepreneurial and innovative environment. That’s why we focus on specific key factors. While using the principles of the ‘primordial relationship’.”
“The primordial relationships between all team members have to be balanced.”
“An individual must never dominate a conversation. As CEO, I make sure everyone gets to speak. The interaction must be coordinated. On top of that, the following key factors need to be in balance.
- A balance between constructive and critical moments
And yes, this all comes down to math. There has to be a 1/3 tot 1/6 ratio. Critiques are sources of stress during a meeting. Stress diminishes enthusiasm and strengthens conservative behavior. A meeting must not end on a critical note, as it demoralizes the team. If you want to stimulate change, everyone should get the chance to express their point of view. The ratio is easily measured: the amount of verbal statements, behaviors like movements or facial expressions … they all can be considered critical expressions. Micro expressions are easier to learn during a video conference. One of the participants could be distracted while the others can still see them.
- Questioning vs. arguing, or the inquiry advocacy ratio.
There has to be a balance between questions and arguments. Count the times a person uses expressions such as ‘I believe’ or ‘I’m pretty sure that …’ and the times that same person asks questions such as ‘What do you think?’, ‘What’s your take on this?’ or ‘What do you mean?’. People who absolutely want to push their opinion are bad for the group. The ideal ratio is 1/1. One should defend their point of view, but has to check if the others are on board.
- The other vs. the self
How many times does the point of view of the other get questioned?
Again, the ratio should be 1/1. Make your point, but immediately ask if there are other perspectives. Marketing is a good example. Am I framing from a seller’s point of view, or from the user’s?
- The amount of nexi
Nexi are the amount of connections that are made during conversation. Person A says X and person B adds something. Every hour some 30 nexi should be made. That’s a lot, isn’t it? Make sure to create an environment where everyone feels safe to express their ideas. This is essential for innovation.
- The big external goal
A team needs a common goal. A consistently clear mission and vision. Something that reaches our hearts. The passion, the fire, can you feel it? Certainly that’s another ingredient for innovative cooperation.
- Adaptation skills
A lot of blogs have written about this. Pivoting and quick thinking are the foundation for successful innovation. Keep questioning yourself. Can you do better? Is it necessary to explore new realities? Never stand still, always improve. Even if, at times, it feels like you’re just making a big sketch.
Nurture the little sparks of creativity. Keep these 6 elements in mind. Be open minded about everything you do and don’t forget about the fun factor. You will see, every day will be full of new ideas. Even in times of crisis.