Katie O’Malley is no stranger to leading a global team remotely. Still, when the COVID-19 restrictions came into place last month, she had to quickly adapt to ensure her international team was able to stay productive, positive and engaged.

O’Malley (pictured third from right at back) is the Director Group Marketing and Communications for the Surbana Jarong Group and Australian- based global design and engineering firm SMEC. She manages her team and works with stakeholders across 80 offices in more than 35 countries. She attests that staying fit, positive and leaning in during the global pandemic has resulted in strong initial results for her team while allowing her to share the benefits of technology and remote working with others.

“Last month, I taught my Mum how to use Zoom, ordered toilet paper on eBay and attended my first online gathering via HouseParty app,” O’Malley said.  “I set up a WhatsApp group for my whole marketing team, organised regular virtual coffee catch up sessions and even hosted a few weekly lunchtime yoga classes for my marketing team. I also get up every morning and spend about hour on my Wahoo Kickr cycling. It’s great to work up a sweat and having a routine sets me up for the day. I also enjoy using Zwift software to joining virtual group rides to stay connected with cycling friends.”

O’Malley adds that as a leader, she has had to manage constantly changing priorities and increased workload demands all while thinking outside of the box. “We are fortunate that as a global company, SMEC is accustomed to flexible work practices. We’ve had remote working arrangements and the technology in place to support worldwide work share and communication for some time now. This means we are well equipped to deal with remote management of projects and support our clients in this extraordinary time.”

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