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The Coronavirus Diaries 2 - Recruiting from Home!

Posted on 24/04/2020 by Stephen Smith

In the second part of our recruiting from home series, we talk to our London Construction, Rail and Property Services teams, who have been working hard to support their workers and clients, from home through the pandemic.

As we continue to adjust to this different way of working, some of our teams were keen to tell you in person how it’s going. With more video conferencing taking place, the Spielberg’s of the business have started to show their talents!

So, enjoy a few more tales of homeworking, a few more challenges, and a few more tips on staying motivated during this unprecedented time.

 

Hannah Smith - Senior Manager, Blue Collar Construction, London

https://youtu.be/MF12ErhQNe0

 

 

Joe Luxton - Team Leader, Blue Collar Construction, London

How have you found the transition to home working from office life? 

To begin with, I didn’t find the transition too bad, it was actually quite exciting to be working in a different environment and from the comfort of home. But as the weeks have gone on, I’m missing the hustle and bustle of London commuting and especially being around my colleagues in the office and bouncing off each other’s energy! It’s a lot harder to motivate yourself at home alone.

Pros – No commute, home as soon as you finish work and wearing my slippers!

Cons – Not being able to communicate easily with colleagues (I can’t just pop to a desk and ask a question).

My Tips - get into a routine, wake up and shower and get changed into “work” clothes, actually have a full lunch break, schedule calls with team members, and create a daily list of tasks to complete.

What helps you get through the week?

I get through the day by listening to the radio. Our team has 3 calls a day and sometimes more, so we’re always in contact.  The whole team has also continued our weekly “Friday Drinks” through Facetime! We’re trying to maintain our social office life and reward tackling another successful week.

 

Joe Francis - Team Leader, Rail, London

What challenges has working from home given you and what tips can you give to help motivate others in the same position?

I have found the transition to working from home a challenge, but one I have very much embraced. With technology being so advanced it’s been great to still be able to communicate with teams and colleagues on a daily basis.

Pros – Working not far from a fully stocked fridge!

Cons – Not having many people to socialise with and therefore bounce off of!

My best tip for maintaining a successful home working environment has been to treat every day as if I’m going to work. Getting up at a reasonable time, making sure I’m showered and dressed ready for work. Sticking to this working routine and including an exercise regime has ensured I’ve kept a focused mind.

What helps you get through your day without the face to face interaction of the offices?

Plan out your days/weeks, look forward to the little things like exercise or going for a walk. Using Google Duo to interact with other teams throughout the business and organise Quiz calls etc.

Any messages you’d like to convey?

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

 

Billy McNamara – Team Manager, White Collar Property Services, London

What has helped you transition to home working?

Due to the systems and tech that we have in place, remote working has been quite straightforward from day one. Also scheduling regular video catch-ups with everyone has been key and video tools such as Teams, Google Duo and Skype have allowed us to easily get some much-needed facetime with everyone!

What has helped you overcome the challenges that a lack of face-to-face interaction brings?

Lots of video calls have helped! We’ve tried to keep talking about non-work related topics as we would in the office, its been important for us to still feel socially together and to keep each other motivated as before.

A regular routine has been essential – sticking to a normal routine as much as possible and having a work area set up at home whether its been a full office or just the kitchen table.

Although managing remotely was also my initial concern, setting guidelines and goals quickly and often has helped keep everyone motivated.

Any messages you’d like to convey or share for our candidates and clients?

We’re still at the end of the phone if needed, and we are still operating as normal as possible during this exceptional period of time.

 

 

Blue Collar Property Services Team, London

We asked Darren, Steph and Millie in our Blue Collar Property Services team for their thoughts:

What have been your pros and cons for working at home?

Pros – more work-life balance, easier to concentrate, no travel time, healthier mind

Cons – no people interaction, not so easy to communicate, more lonely

Any quick tips for successful home working?

Have a routine (normal morning coffee etc, one hour lunch set time do a work out) set up a workspace with no distractions, and set yourself a to-do list and ensure you set targets you meet daily as well as weekly.

What helps you get through your day without the face-to-face interaction of the offices?

Video conference calls, lots of telephone calls, more WhatsApp chats and ensuring we keep pushing our friendly team competitions!

Any messages you’d like to convey or share to colleagues? Clients? Candidates?

If you are determined and motivated you can work from home and be as productive as before.  We are living in weird times but it will pass; stay strong, stay home and stay positive.

 

Dan Skinner - Associate Director, Maintenance, London

How has remote working been for you? 

Working remotely from your teams, peers and colleagues is difficult to adapt to. We are used to busy sales floors with office banter, laughs, BD sessions, turning around to ask questions, walking to the water machine, kitchen chats, training sessions and regular catchups.  This has been replaced by working from home in a bedroom, office, study, breakfast bar or whatever works with the family around.  I’m not working from the shed yet but I am tempted!!

Having family around has been great but you have to commit time to be away from them, so dedicated work times and scheduled breaks and lunch. This is something I have found difficult, as normally I focus for hours on my work and lose track of time!

The novelty for many of working from home appears to have worn off after a few weeks, although we are all safe and have everything we need to work at a reasonable level from our remote locations. Technology has held up well, and support from the departments around the business has been great.

What are your tips for successful home working?

Find somewhere quiet and away from distractions. Set times to work. Take a breather for lunch and see what’s going on in the world/family life. Have a plan and stick to it. To-Do lists are great but make sure you get through them and only put on the important/business-critical tasks. The balance is difficult with children’s schooling, the youngest wanting your attention all the time, keeping children entertained/active and maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner. We’re used to being apart for the majority of the day, so being in each other’s company 24/7 takes a lot of work and compromise!!

When it comes to managing a team during all this; make sure you have a good mixture of video conferences, phone calls and standard WhatsApp interaction! Keep the teams in the loop on company successes.

Any messages you’d like to convey or share to colleagues? Clients? Candidates?

Stay safe all. We look forward to having everyone back in the business soon and returning to the successes we have seen so far this year.

 


So again, #Commonthemes

As the weeks continue, our teams are clearly more at ease with video conferencing and motivating each other remotely. We’re a very social business, so it’s been especially important for the teams to keep in touch with each other and still maintain the banter!

Motivation when working from home can be particularly challenging at the best of times.  So although many have had to adapt to this for the first time during this pandemic, the close-knit nature of our teams has allowed them to overcome this hurdle together.

Next up, the Operations Team!

 

Thanks again to all essential workers for working tirelessly through all this and remember to stay in contact with your teams, managers and loved ones.

Stay safe, and Joe Francis said it best:

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives