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Work/Life Balance and the new Normal

Our Director Jo writes about her experience with working from home since March this year. She talks about what it has taught and given her and whether this way of working could be the new normal.

The hypocrisy of writing this blog whilst on holiday and supposedly taking some time off isn’t lost on me. However, whilst my family enjoy long lie-ins, I take the dog for a walk, have a quiet breakfast outside and have the rare opportunity to clear my mind and put pen to paper (well, as close as we get nowadays).

Since March we have seen such a huge change to our working lives and it’s brought the opportunity for change. I have been to the office just once and have set up my working life on the dining room table. I’ve been surrounded by three school age children with the various challenges of home-schooling between primary, secondary and GCSE years, and by a husband also working from home in the kitchen. But I have enjoyed the slower pace. Without dashing between school pick-ups, meetings and after school clubs, there has been the opportunity to re-assess what is important. This is what I have taken away from it all.

  • You don’t have to be tied to the office to be productive and there should not be the impression that you are less productive at home. Our team have performed brilliantly at home. We’ve delivered Salesforce implementations, a huge number of virtual Salesforce training courses, and supported our customers with very little disruption
  • We haven’t lost personal contact. As with most employers we use software such as Teams, Zoom etc to keep in touch regularly. With cameras on, it’s really not much different, and we actually now get the whole team together on a call once a week which is something that will stay!
  • I’ve enjoyed spending more time outside (sometimes successfully dragging the children away from electronics, sometimes not). I can take a break more easily than from the office and can walk outside or go to an outdoors gym class when my work schedule allows, catching up later in the day. This freedom has certainly alleviated common daytime stresses and we’ve encouraged the team to do the same around their work commitments

So, what next? Well that is the key question, but as the children go back to school and more and more businesses go back to the office, will we go back to how life was before? No, I don’t think so.

We love having an office where people get the opportunity to catch up in person, build relationships and have fun. However, we don’t need to be there all of the time. We’ve got a great opportunity to look at the needs of our team on a more individual basis and take a more relaxed approach and we have already started.

During lockdown, we have changed some people’s working patterns from 5 days a week to 4 days to allow a much better work/life balance. One of our team has a new puppy, so some working from home will be part of their new normal as they help the new arrival settle. Two new team members have never worked from the office or met many of us in person. I’m looking forward to changing that, but I’m really impressed with how we have completed the whole recruitment, interview & onboarding process virtually and they have been really successful. This will certainly change our process in the future.

It has been a very troubling and upsetting time, and I don’t want to close off this blog without recognising that, however, I want to focus on the positives that we have seen and make the most of them whilst thinking about how we can improve the lives of our valued team.

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