Working from home, early days but not as bad as I thought!

It’s very early days, three to be exact, but so far so good. As a business we took steps to activate our business continuity plan a few days early to make sure our team were ready for the mass shift of supporting our clients from office to home and I think we got that just about right. We got all of our own team of IT consultants, customer service advisors, management and our support staff up and running from their own homes before we announced the change. This made sure any minor glitches were ironed out and all of our IT system is operating as smoothly as expected. The Orca ship is sailing smoothly.

Over the course of the week we have called and spoken to all of our clients and it has been a really positive time. Most are approaching this in a similar way to us and everyone has had a similar pragmatic view that we are all in this together. If we can all communicate during these tough times, the business landscape will still be in place when we are out the other side.

From my own perspective it’s been a good experience so far. My four year-old has decided to set up her own office next to mine and has joined me before and after school. She tells me she is making notes and using her computer! See her picture below. She has also been fantastic at generally understanding that I am working and my wife has been great at keeping things level so I can work as required.

I’m not saying this isn’t challenging but at the moment our client feedback has been great and the high level of services we deliver to clients has been maintained. Our goal through all of this is to keep them all running where possible and make the transition as smooth as it can be. It’s working.

The staff are also extremely positive. Many of them have always been office-based and need to adapt to a completely different working environment with many distractions. If you don’t focus and build a routine, it’s easy to wonder where the day has gone without being productive. We have put routines and controls in place so the staff still feel like the team is together and helped reduce the isolation they could face.

I thought it would be interesting to get some feedback from my colleagues to see how they are coping.

I spoke with my co-director, Mark Tunstall last night.:

“I find it interesting how, with good preparation and planning, the transition from office to home working has been really quite painless.  Yes, there are differences in how I work, but ultimately they are minor and generally imperceptible.

That’s not to say that home-working is something I’d recommend over office-based work.  There’s a certain efficiency that stems from immediate visual information you can obtain from simply looking around a lively, working office, as well as the simple passing comments you can obtain from your colleagues, or even a nod to confirm that your understanding of situations are correct or not.  Those types of information need more effort to obtain when working from home.

The tools adopted definitely matter – using video wherever possible definitely helps and be prepared to spend far more time on the phone.  It’s surprised me just how much time I’ve spent with my mobile glued to my ear.  Interesting times lay ahead, no doubt about that!

Kylie, our CSA Team leader mentioned on our catch up call yesterday:

“It has been very strange and quiet working from home this week and it doesn’t take long for you to miss the hustle and bustle of the office environment. I myself feel privileged to work for a company that enables me to continue to work from home at a time like this. Working from home has brought about some new challenges as a team leader, such as looking after the team when you physically cannot see them! It’s certainly a handy skill to have in your back pocket. I have realised that communication is key at this point and it’s very important that everyone works together as we are all in the same boat.”

We are all adjusting to the new norm and everyone has different views on the benefits vs challenges of being home-based. I hope that your business is adapting well to home-working. And if you need any advice on setting up your remote systems, please get in touch. Stay safe and well everyone.

Technology you can count on

Get in touch online or give us a call on 0345 504 8989