REFLECTION FROM THE AHA CENTRE MID-TERM REVIEW:
ADJUSTING TO THE NEW NORMAL
The AHA Centre has been implementing working from home arrangements since March 2020, in order to ensure the safety and well-being of its staff during the global pandemic. Adapting to these new working arrangements has been challenging, especially due to the collaborative nature of the AHA Centre’s work. Facilitating collaboration without having direct physical interaction can be tricky, but the AHA Centre has determined to adapt to this new working environment. As an organisation specialising in disaster management and emergency response, the AHA Centre understands that while contexts such as this bring significant upheaval, they also present opportunities to revise and improve.
During the second week of July 2020 the AHA Centre undertook its Mid-Term Review (MTR) workshop. This is an annual activity in which the AHA Centre seeks to assess the progress made towards achieving planned objectives in comparison to its annual work plan. This year’s MTR, however, would be very different from the previous years, as this was the first time that the MTR was conducted fully online.
The event was delivered to 42 participants through numerous sessions across five days. It included briefings on the organisation’s work, group sessions to review the work plan for the upcoming term, as well as sessions to provide strategy and direction for programme continuity within the pandemic and ‘new normal’ contexts. There was no shortage of challenges in implementing this year’s MTR, including the logistical challenge to identify the right platform to support collaboration among all AHA Centre staff. In order to facilitate this collaboration, the AHA Centre made use a number of online collaborative tools including MIRO and Wooclap.
Another key challenge was maintaining staff enthusiasm and spirit for the entire duration of the workshop. The online environment has a number of limitations, in particular limitations on communicating and exchanging ideas and information freely. A lack of non-verbal communication can be tiring, and when people are tired enthusiasm can decline. Therefore, in order to maintain staff energy levels to achieve all workshop objectives, the AHA Centre spread out the event across five days instead of the usual three. The team also explored a number of energising and ice-breaking activities suitable for the online environment, and they proved successful in maintain staff engagement and interest.
By the end of the week the AHA Centre successfully achieved all of the MTR workshop objectives. Beyond this, the activity also gave the team an opportunity to continue adapting to the new normal.
Written by : Merry Rismayani & Dipo Summa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre