Covid-19 and PD - usefulness of tech

Professional Development during Covid-19

During COVID-19, Farmanco (like everyone) had to evolve how we work and think and how we continue to offer support and advice to our clients.

Farmanco closed all of our offices in March 2020 with consultants working from home (we are since back to 'new normal'). Given that we operate over 11 offices and our consultants are spread out across regional WA and NSW, in many respects we’ve always operated as a ‘virtual company’. Much of our communication is over the phone and we meet altogether in person only a couple of times a year.

With the requirement to stay at home as much as possible, we are now used to using new communication technologies more extensively. How quickly has that become the norm for many businesses.

Since April 2020, all of our teams have had professional development days, always opportunities to get together and share new techniques and developments, bringing in external speakers to talk about new products and services.

For several years, we’ve used video conferencing for a lot of adhoc meetings, both within Farmanco and with partners in other states and other countries and we have used various platforms: Zoom, Skype, TeamViewer, BlueJeans etc.

With the move to a phone system that lets us operate the business from anywhere, we now use Microsoft Teams for video conferencing and document collaboration.

Teams has worked well in smaller groups. However, 2020 has been the year to use it to connect the entire company; 31 people, including one of our Philippines developers and external presenters. Despite the fact that we had people on NBN, mobile, and satellite connections, it all worked surprisingly well.

Throughout the COVID-19 situation, we have had external presenters talk to us about data protection and security, and making improvements to Farmanco Facts. Teams were able to collaborate on a single document, and access external presenters, from both technology companies and chemical and fertiliser companies.

We have probably accomplished more during our ‘virtual PD’ sessions than we normally achieve in-person. We can record meetings and therefore anyone can watch / listen at a later date.

While video collaboration and document-sharing technology doesn’t beat face-to-face meetings with our clients, after a short while you do forget about the tech.

It has been beneficial In the environment of COVID-19 and isolation to use video collaboration and document sharing technology with our clients, for one-on-one meetings, management reviews and agronomy plans.

We've been forced to do things differently, but this hasn’t necessarily meant stepping backward. The situation forced people to innovate and Farmanco will always try to ensure we keep you and your businesses at the forefront.

With the choice to hunker down and just try to get through it, or to innovate and try different things, Farmanco intends to be in the latter group!