Traveling Post COVID-19
The plane speeds down the runway. The pilot pulls up on the control wheel, bringing the elevators go up and lifting us off the ground. I look at my colleague (who, as usual, is sitting very close to me) and know he is thinking the exact same thing as me – finally. After more than 6 months without traveling, we are back on the move.
Traveling is part of who we are as consultants. It is true that thanks to new technologies and growth of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, we can deliver impact to our clients working from anywhere. This is how we have worked during the past 6 months, and the results have been very positive. However, as I was saying, traveling is part of who we are, especially here at Delta Partners. Due to our global staffing system, most of our projects take us to new locations, with colleagues from any of our offices across the world.
The main benefit of traveling is being with the team and working together closely in the same room. On this project, I was with two other colleagues from the Barcelona office, plus one colleague from our Dubai office. Our destination: Croatia, where we would be staying for the next 7 weeks.
Most of our projects since the start of the pandemic have been completed remotely – and most, if not all the clients have shared with us that the quality of the engagement and level of impact has been the same as in the past, with the added benefit of the flexibility of working from home. However, on this engagement, the client required the team to fly to Croatia to meet specific project needs. Since we were in the middle of the pandemic, we took our and the clients’ safety very seriously. Our working rooms were always as big as conference rooms, and our tables were spread out by at least a couple of meters.
However, having a large room to work in is not enough, as there are always closer face-to-face interactions when entering and leaving. For this reason we kept track of the daily COVID-19 cases in the country. The number of cases was very low at the beginning of the engagement, but unfortunately the situation changed over the weeks and the number of cases rose. Although the team was still in Croatia, our last few meetings had to be conducted online. In my opinion, at least some in-person client interaction is hugely beneficial. Our industry is based on trust – we advise our clients on how to achieve their goals, but they will only act on our advice if they trust us.
Given that the project was quite demanding, it required a lot of group thinking and team discussions. I appreciated being close to the team and working together to solve the client’s problem. In the new normal, I believe that while client presentations and workshops can take a shift towards virtual meetings, there will always be value in working face-to-face with colleagues, particularly on challenging projects.
We enjoyed another benefit – unique to Delta Partners – weekend packs. These allow you to stay for the weekend at the client’s location (or somewhere nearby) and explore and enjoy a new city. The weekend pack covers the travel, food, and accommodation expenses, and enabled us to take a few well-deserved breaks and enjoy Croatia. These are usually limited to two per month, but due to the COVID-19 situation, we were able to enjoy this benefit for more weekends than usual. Just to mention a few of the things we did – we visited Rovinj and other beautiful coastal town in Croatia, went truffle hunting, we toured wonderful wineries, and we stayed in unique hotels from the early XX century.
Senior Business Analyst