As most have experienced first-hand, the pandemic is forcing us to find new ways of working together. The change from physical contact, whether it be in the office, out in the field or in school, into a digital space has been a challenge. It is not a medium that is suited for all, technological limitations and know-how may present unforeseen challenges that needs to be overcome.
The PULSE project is not exempt from this challenge, especially considering that the exchange is not happening physically. Because of this, new ways of working together have been explored, and I am pleased to say that the PULSE team is now thriving in their new digital office.
Previously the exchange meant that one team would travel to Norway and one team to South Africa, these two teams would have very few meeting points, yet both teams worked for the same project.
Today, in the digital landscape, the PULSE team is working more closely together than ever before. Joint projects with participants from both teams, collaboration and cooperation has nothing but increased since the project went digital. This is of course not without a few bumps along the road, but the amount of growth PULSE has gone through is staggering.
As of now, the North Participants and South Participants are working together on a daily basis, with meetings, phone calls and e-mails going back and forth all day long. At no time previously have the two teams collaborated and grown together as they have now.
It is not only the PULSE team that has seen growth when it comes to collaboration, our two host organisations, FBF and NMF have also been working more closely together, as evident from the Activity Library that was recently published on YouTube.
Another point of cooperation is the Praktikant programme and FeriePULSE, which will take place later this year in Norway. This time the Praktikant programme will be held digitally. Something which is very good news. Instead of cancelling it, due to the pandemic and restrictions. Work has been set in motion to re-create this as a digital event, with North and South participants working closely together to make this happen. By having it held digitally, it will reach out to more participants than previously as distance, travel arrangements and the budgetary costs of hosting a physical event is no longer a hindrance. If all goes accordingly, the FeriePULSE will be held physically in June, given that the Norwegian government allows it, something that all of us are hoping they will. The amount of individual and team wide growth the PULSE team has seen is something to behold, as digital upskilling has become an everyday part of the job now. Yet, even when the team is working from opposite sides of the world, the collaboration never ceases. Examples of cross team cooperation is amongst others, but not limited to; the alumni survey, workshop contents, social media posts, 20th anniversary material, life skills, e-learning, and many more
Working in a digital space has its ups and downs for sure, and not being able to meet up in person can sometimes weigh on the team as they work together, so in order to keep the PULSE team happy and thriving in a digital landscape, there has been appointed a Digital Wellbeing Officer(DWO). This person, Solvor, is making sure that the team has all the resources they need to work together. The DWO is also in charge of creating a space where the team can meet up and informally chat amongst each other, just like a cantina or break room functions in a physical office. Having an informal meeting space, where chit chat and banter flow loosely is a great thing, and it is really helpful to help alleviate the stress from constantly having to work online. Meeting up, drinking some coffee, tea or cocoa while having a laugh with our colleagues is so invaluable time and does wonders to keep the team connected and growing closer together, despite the distance between us.
Author : Nicholas Bahrawy
Published: Jacob Mhlapeng