It went from a minor situation in the Far East, to “Oh wow, Italy has it pretty bad, we’d better start using hand sanitiser,” to a toilet roll panic, to a full lockdown!
Jesting aside, this has meant a lot of businesses, like Creed, have been asked to work from home where possible to limit the spread of coronavirus. The thing with that is, Creed wasn’t a business geared to work from home, at least not holistically.
We were lucky in that our directors had read the tea leaves early enough to see a storm was coming and shrewdly invested in all the necessary equipment that would allow our entire agency to be able to function from our homes, at no detriment to our clients. We have all the tech, access and means available to do our job as well as we do in the office – but why is it so hard!?
Speaking from my own experience, having never worked from home, I’ve found it somewhat alien. I’m as E (extrovert) as it gets in the Myers Briggs typology and so for me, the lack of people around me to work/interact/laugh with has been a real challenge. Added to that, I’d never used FaceTime before, as I’d never understood why I’d need to look at someone on the rare occasion I made a call!
Fast forward to April 2020, and now every day I only get to see my colleagues maybe 3-4 times each a day on Microsoft Teams, and whilst I draw energy from these meetings and catch-ups, it’s still a surreal experience.
There have been lots of challenges to overcome, from the practical to the trivial, such as not having a desk or a work chair, not being able to keep up my usual routine of work, gym, home etc. I can’t just say something off the cuff to colleagues, nor join in any random banter that’s going on. I can’t pop to the shop for a drink, nor call a quick team meeting as I can’t see who’s at their desks. And how will I possibly know what’s good on Netflix now?!
But on a more professional level, managing a team is fraught with its own difficulties too, which I’m sure many people reading this are all too aware of. For many, I’m sure the reverse is also true, and they welcome the peace, the headspace, the reduced commute times and so on. For me, I’m itching to get back to the office and resume life as it was. The only saving grace is the money I’m saving as a result of working from home!
Whether you’re working from home, waiting things out on furlough, or bravely going out to work in one of the UK’s key industries, it’s important to remember that everyone out there is going through the same thing in one way or another. As tough as it may be for some right now, this too will pass.