What I've learned working from home
The past couple of months have been tough. There's no getting around it. It's been described as 'the most trying time in modern history'. Not since World War II, has a single circumstance unified the entire planet. It would be very easy, and completely understandable, for people to lose motivation, spiral into depression, and potentially give up the fight against Covid-19.
However, what I've noticed over the 2 months since the country has been in lockdown is actually pretty interesting. I must say firstly, I am putting aside everything we hear on the news about the number of cases and deaths occurring every day. We cannot hide from the truly tragic facts, but as always, we must find the positives, even in the darkest of times.
One thing that really motivated me to write this article was the atmosphere in the supermarkets. Of course, the social distancing was in full force. Queuing to enter the store, arrows on the floor guiding shoppers around the aisles at a safe distance from others (although I have noticed some shoppers ignore or don't see, the signs for this), and sanitised trolleys/baskets. We can argue that they have the responsibility to do this, and rightly so, but a major factor that truly makes this time special is the attitude of the general public. I am certainly not speaking for everyone, as I still notice some disregarding the guidelines, but on the whole, people seem more respectful, patient and friendly towards others.
In terms of an office-based environment, we have rediscovered the word 'essential'. What is actually required to run your business? I encourage you to ask yourself this question. Again, circumstances are different for everyone. But, speaking for myself - I now consider having an office as a luxury.
I'd say many companies believed everyone should work in the office (and yes, there are advantages to it), but since being forced into this situation, they have realised that employees can, and will, do their job to the same standard regardless of location. In fact, in the last few days, I have spoken to a few people who are either considering or pulled the trigger, on letting go of their office space - as they have now realised it is an expense they can afford to live without. Another thing I have noticed is the extra hours I have at the end of the day. Travelling to, and from, the office and to meetings etc actually take up quite a large chunk of the day. Utilising modern technology and actively communicating with others, we realise that a standard 8-hour workday can be completed in much less time if properly managed. Additionally, even the attire worn for the workday has changed. I think people have realised that no one actually cares if you are not wearing an expensive suit to a video conference - I wonder if this will be acceptable when meeting in person when the lockdown is lifted…
Don't get me wrong, there are challenges to this new way of working - having a dog constantly wanting to go for walks is a big one! But on the whole, it's not too bad.
Now, as the world is slowly crawling towards the light at the end of the tunnel, I must ask if we will continue with this newfound respect to others, and living/working with just the essentials to your business, saving time and money, or will be revert back to our old ways?