Four weeks into lock down and working from home is becoming the new norm for employees and businesses worldwide. How have you transitioned from working in a busy office?
From, just leaning over to talk to colleagues to now being in an environment where we are getting used to our 'virtual office'. Chatting with colleagues is a mixture of phone calls, figuring out how to use 'Team video chats', reminding yourself of how to share documents, apologising for accidentally cutting people off, figuring how to manage the volume of chat conversations, all expecting a response or request completed straight away.
Have you got into a rhythm yet of how you like to work from home? Do you prefer to sit at your kitchen table, do you have a dedicated office, or do you prefer to work from the comfort of your sofa?
There is also the debate of how to dress - do you still dress as if you are in the office, or have you swapped your wardrobe for comfy clothes?
We have asked a few people around the business about how is WFH, working for them?
Head of Sales, North
I find it really important to still have a structure, however the 60 mins I used to spend on getting ready: shower, hair, make up, ready for the meetings ahead, I now use a little differently. The first 45 mins is now in gym wear and either a session on my exercise bike, treadmill or a bit of a Davina work out. Followed by a shower of course. I find this gets me mentally prepared for the day ahead. I prefer to work in comfies and can't remember the last time I applied make up, not ideal for 'teams' calls, ha ha!
As for my working environment I tend to switch it up depending on my mood. I have an office that I rarely use, preferring either the dining room table or the sofa. With the nice weather I have even pitched up in the garden (with a shade so I can still see my laptop).
The day consists of a number of virtual meetings, it's surprising how much you can get done without the need to all be in the same office. I think it is really important to remain in contact with my field team, majority of the time via teams so that we can see each other and interact a little more than just a phone call. Again these calls have a set agenda so that we all achieve the objectives set.
The flexibility home working gives is great as it removes the travel time so you can get more administrative tasks completed however as sales people we like to interact with our dealer base & virtual meetings don't really cut it.
Morale can be difficult especially when as sales people we are very sociable. I try to ensure I keep in contact with the team and get team calls on the go with a fun element so that we are interacting socially.
Whilst it has its advantages to working from home, I'll be glad when we can get out and see our dealer base and drive the business forward.
Senior Business Development Manager
I find I work best from home when I have one room that is my office - everything I need to hand with good lighting, a decent chair and a desk at the right height. It's also important to be able to get up and leave it when you need a break and move to another part of your home. Breaks are really important I find and I've found that I can walk and talk at the same time quite easily, so ideal to return missed calls on the move whilst getting some fresh air at the same time. For me I have to get up at the same time, have breakfast and out for a decent walk with the dog as part of my morning routine, it sets me up for the day!
Head of Sales, South
I have always been field based so I have a dedicated small home office, but never had my two teenage boys at home together with husband in toe! My poochon dog Teddie used to always sit with me but now she is torn between whom to spend time with and resorted to the second top step of the stairs with her head through the banisters guarding us all. I am new to the business and I was excited to meet my team and dealer customers face to face in person. Of course, this is not possible, however, I am pleased to say a video TEAMS meeting twice weekly goes a long way to build rapport and generate conversation. Here we share the best parts of the week, challenging aspects and plans for next. It's been made fun with fancy dress/hats and sunglasses too. STB launched a radio programme last Thursday which has gone a long way to bring us together as a community whilst working remotely. We may be far away in distance from each other, but we are closely communicating and we are all committed to supporting each other and our introducer customers now and in the near future.
As a modern business, we're pretty set up to work from home already, but it's just not something I choose to do that often. I prefer the noise of the office and the colleague contact. I get up each morning about the same time and use my kitchen table as my office. I try and be strict with myself, I made the big plans of going out each lunch time for a break but to be honest that never happened, so I'm training myself at the end of the day to go for my daily walk. My work routine in the office is the same as at home - I just miss the personal contact. However, I do have to say although I'm less social, I have been more productive, and my to-do list has never looked so complete. I think the biggest challenge over the next few weeks is about maintaining morale. I think if anything this virus has given us all is a wakeup call about the need for more flexible working.
Initially I thought the transition to 5 days working at home would not be a great leap having already worked from home for a couple of days for a number of years previously. After a week however I realised 5 days at home was a different proposition. To adapt I've taken more short regular breaks during the day and tried to be disciplined with a stricter finishing time and no subtle checking of emails later in the evening. Teams has been great to maintain video contact during lock down, I've also tried to call people more rather than email. Most importantly with the Gyms closed I've bought more apples to stop myself snacking on the bad stuff during the day.