There’s a plethora of articles out there that give the “top tips” on working from home. I’m not knocking them - for the majority of people this has been a massive shift in how we do our day job...for those lucky enough to keep working. But besides, we all know the rules by now - make sure you wear daytime clothes from the waist up, hide your snacks and mute the TV before answering a video call etc. So instead I thought I’d share my musings of the positives I’m taking from working at home these past eight weeks.
I do of course miss seeing my team in 3D. Having a buffer-free chat. Decompressing after a busy week at the wine bar. Looking back at old photos of gigs and family get-togethers now brings the same awe as leafing through a history book of Victorian times thinking “wow, I wonder what it was like to be there?!”.
Despite now only seeing their heads and shoulders, I feel I know my teammates better than ever. And this isn’t just because I’ve been able to have a nosey at their houses through the snippets of backgrounds they share on video calls (although that is mega interesting), but I’ve found we’re having more genuine one-on-one conversations. Lots of checking in on wellbeing. A warm and cosy feeling of comradery. There’s also definitely been more quizzes. What’s with that? Why has the country gone quiz mad? Anyway…getting to know my colleagues better has been really rewarding, so I’m thinking about how I continue to build on this over the coming months. Just maybe slightly less quizzes. The waiting list for Mastermind must have grown exponentially.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed an improved efficiency in the way that I work. It’s definitely been tricky at points - especially when in the throes of the creative process and could just do with a 30 second “how’s this sounding?” check. But without having an answer at the swivel of a chair, it’s made me consider more carefully who I need to talk to and why. I’ve become more confident in my decisions and have learnt to use my time more effectively. This is definitely something I’ll take forwards.
I can’t help but wonder how working from home during this situation would have felt completely different had it happened even just 15 years earlier, without all of the technology at our fingertips we have now. Sure, there would have still been email, fax and e-commerce (to an extent) - but would we have been frantically posting floppy disks containing documents through each other’s letterboxes? Standing on our colleague’s front lawns Bluetoothing images through the window?
The past weeks have helped us to better utilise the digital technology that’s readily available - for both now and the future. Despite working with clients across the country, we never really used to consider video calls – we’d usually meet in person or talk over the phone. Our preferred method of course was in person, for the fact alone that it makes eating biscuits at any time of the day acceptable. But now I can see that even when we’re back in the studio, using Teams and Zoom can provide just about the same level of interaction (providing there are biscuits on both sides) but in a faster, more efficient and even a more environmentally friendly way. This is reassuring to know, especially if the guidelines on social distancing are here to stay for a while.
Take care and I look forward to “seeing” you soon. Wearing proper trousers.