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The Coronavirus Diaries 3 - Operating from home

Posted on 1/05/2020 by Stephen Smith

3 is the magic number, so although we could keep posting up our team’s homeworking lives, we figured we would finish our series with our Operations team, the people that work behind the scenes to make the business tick, to see how they are getting on from their home offices.

While our business is extremely well set up for consultants to work just about anywhere, those not on the recruiting front line have had to work hard to ensure the business can operate smoothly during this unusual time. So, grab a cuppa and read through what our operating rock-stars have to say, as they share their thoughts on the last few weeks:

 

Jon Underwood - Operations Director

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

The transition from working in the office to working at home has been fairly simple for me, although I needed to bring an additional monitor home so I can dual screen with. I must admit that working from home can be lonely and it’s all too easy to become distracted by your surroundings. The best advice is to have a dedicated working area, even if it is the kitchen table, create a daily routine and most importantly - stick to it!

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

Regular communication with colleagues and using video calls make the difference. Make time during the day to call colleagues and have a chat – recreate those “watercooler” moments you have every day at work (just don’t let them go on for too long :-)).

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

This is a difficult time for many and is having a huge impact on both our personal and working lives, but it’s important to remember that it won’t last forever. Look after yourselves and those close to you. Stay strong, stay safe.

 

Suzanne Jellyman - Finance Director

How have you found the transition to home working and remote managing from office life?  Pros and cons? Tips for successful home working?

The IT department have been amazing to set everyone up so they can work from home without any difference to working in the office, except the physical location. Never been on the phone/video calls so much, am all set up with 2 screens which really helps – complete role reversal in the family, my husband is usually at home but is now out at work all day and I am at home – kids are nocturnal so I have the mornings (and half the afternoon!!) to myself. I thought it would be an opportunity to get things done as not much going on around but actually I spend my life on the phone/video calls. I am now really good at conference calls, video calls and sharing screens on skype - it has made a huge difference to interaction and also made us much more efficient at getting things done remotely.

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

I am always on the phone so have plenty of interaction, I miss the chatter and gossip from the office but actually think the WhatsApp group does well to keep the interaction going and keeps everyone in touch.

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

We are a great team and will be back together soon, take care and stay safe.

 

Dale Bonar - Finance Operations Manager

How has WFH changed your working life? 

It hasn’t been a difficult transition, which was made possible by having the right systems in place and the IT team making sure remote working was possible for all. Having two young children at home who require “home-schooling” presented a challenge but by making sure there is a daily routine and a dedicated workspace for everyone made it possible.

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

Daily video calls with colleagues does help. A large number of colleagues, that I normally communicate and work closely with, are not based at the same office location as me so it’s business as usual for the most part.

 

Matt Conroy – Head of IT

How have you found working from home and what are your recommendations for successful home working?

My role has always required me to carry out an element of work from home, usually for routine maintenance or software upgrades, so the transition was relatively smooth. Whilst it can be very productive, I miss working alongside my colleagues and having someone to bounce ideas or problems off.

It’s important to have a space that is oriented to work, so that it still feels like you’re going to the office; it’s just in a different place for the time being!

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

Working from home during the pandemic has created different challenges for my colleagues so I still speak to a number of them every day; more and more of them are using video calls so it’s nice to still see people and their surroundings. The Company WhatsApp groups have also created a new type of interaction.

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

I’ve been impressed with how positive and upbeat my colleagues have been, this has really helped me stay positive and just focus on the things I can impact rather than worrying about those things that I can’t. I think this has also given us an opportunity to find out a bit more about each other’s lives and interests, which has been great.

 

Corinne Atherton – HR Director

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

I am used to working from home but have found the combination of it becoming my main place of work, alongside the rest of the family working and studying from home, to be quite a challenge – it can be difficult to define the boundaries between work and home life.  On the upside I’ve been able to see much more of my family and the timing coincided with us getting a dog, so that has worked out well.  On the downside, I miss the office environment, seeing my team and colleagues, and the fridge is too easily accessible!

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

We’ve been using a range of technology to keep in touch, which has been a valuable learning curve, and from an HR perspective there’s been plenty to do, much of which is new territory. Our teams have been doing lots of charity fundraising, which has not only raised funds for some fantastic causes, but also been great for bringing people together.

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

Look after yourself and others, value the things you can do and try not to focus on the things you can’t – it’s a temporary situation which we will come out of, having learned a lot from it.

 


 

So, there you have it, Daniel Owen is still operating as close to normal as possible. If you’ve seen our other posts about Daniel Owen life, then you’re probably aware we’re keen to get back into the office. But despite the current challenges our teams are staying in touch, keeping focused and continuing to socialise together, albeit virtually.  And it’s certainly not stopped us from doing what we do best.

And as always, stay safe.