As the one-year anniversary of the Cenera team moving to remote work is upon us, we want to take a moment to reflect on the lessons we have learned as a business and a team over this last year. While this year has presented many challenges, we are proud of how the Cenera team came together and grew in positive ways we never anticipated.

Here are 4 lessons we have learned after one year working remotely:

1.     Our Team is Strong!

The number one lesson we have learned is that the Cenera team is stronger than ever! Our team worked with grace and efficiency through sudden changes to working conditions, client needs, and business structures.

As we approached the anniversary of the official COVID lock-down in Calgary and Alberta, I saw a social media post that said something like, “Hey March, do you think we’re going to let you in again after what you started last year?” And I kind of agree, but when we were asked to look back at the year, I’m fortunate enough to be able to say, in my experience, I can see that it hasn’t been all bad.  

I continue to see my colleagues, with great admiration, in a different light at different times – their strengths, creativity and tenacity working under strange and challenging circumstances, and I’m grateful for their energy, integrity, trust, support, patience, and guidance. I hope I’ve been able to show them the same in return. I’ve also learned from my colleagues that it’s alright to slow down. We are constantly under pressure to be productive and feel guilty for taking breaks. This isn’t sustainable. I feel we’re slowly helping each other work our way back to some balance so we can live and work as our best selves.”

– Joan Dunlop, Partner

Not seeing our team for a year has cemented how much I appreciate the relationships we have with each other. I can’t wait to get back to those casual catch up conversations in the office kitchen as we get our morning coffee or gather for lunch together in the middle of the day for a few laughs.”

– Jennifer Doiron, Partner

2.     Technology Helps

As a company, we had many things on our long-term to-do list, including moving some of our services to the virtual space. Once the world went remote, it was time to find new ways to connect online.

I have learned that we are very resilient and have adapted quickly to home offices, new technology and virtual service delivery.

– Glenn Tibbles, Partner

3.     It’s Important to be Adaptable

Nothing teaches you how to be adaptable quite like suddenly having all your procedures change! We were happy to turn our focus on how we could best meet client needs, and our own in this new climate.

I think one of the lesson’s that we have learned (and myself) is what a strong delivery model we have. This comes with having mindful, trusting and engaged staff. The biggest source of this comes with the seamless transition during the pandemic and our ability to learn on the fly and be adaptable in any situation.”

– Todd Pannett, Manager, HR Advisory Services

I’ve learned that I can actually adapt to change! I was one of the great resistors to change but when our entire way of working shifted, I quickly learned that this resistance wasn’t going to help us pivot and adapt in the ways we needed to. I really can be productive when working remotely. I never thought that I would be a good “work from home” person. But working remotely has gone phenomenally well and my productivity is as high (dare I say higher?) as it was it in the office.”

– Jennifer Doiron, Partner

The new normal becomes a routine very quickly. The drive to work is replaced by other things, like early or late day walks, exercise, reading the newspaper, getting an early start on e-mails and projects, and so on.”

– Glenn Tibbles, Partner

I learned that as an extrovert, I am capable of being productive while working alone. It helps that the work I do is interesting, and that I’m connected to a fantastic team of people and great clients with whom I’m in regular contact. On another note… It’s amazing what kinds of home delivery happens in one’s neighbourhood during the week! Beyond Purolator, Door Dash & electricians, did you know that dental hygienists also make home visits?

– Pam Corbett, Partner

4.     We Will Always Be Learning and Growing in our Careers

After working in an industry for years, it can feel like you know your career inside and out. This year has been a reminder that there will always be room to grow in your career.

March 16, 2020 is the day we started to transform our customary way of working. The transformation of our office dispersing into each of our homes, the change to our morning commuting habits, the challenge of not being able to collaborate and connect in the same physical space, and the discovery of more efficient ways to deliver work. One year of deviating from the “norm” and working remotely has taught me that the future of work is full of possibilities. Despite some of the challenges we faced this past year, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to say… Happy 1-year anniversary of working remotely!

– Tomoya Ouchi, Consultant

There is one final thing we learned…

My cozy wool slippers were a fantastic investment!”

– Pam Corbett, Partner

We want to thank our team and all our wonderful clients for sticking by us this past year as we have navigated a new working model. We appreciate your patience, guidance, and support.