Working from home
Since Neil and I started our legal PR firm Black Letter Communications almost nine years ago, much of our work, and indeed our success, has been achieved from the comfort of our own homes. I would go even further and say that some of that success has come from the very fact that we work from home.
Of course, we’re not hermits and we regularly see our clients and have weekly face-to-face team meetings. So, when we made the decision last week to switch to complete remote working for our team, the impact was minimal.
From the outset, working from home for us was a lifestyle choice. It made us happy. Happier people make better workers. Even the scientists agree.
Nine years on, I still fully appreciate the benefits of not having to get up every morning, put on a suit and have my face in a stranger’s armpit during a daily commute.
I’ve crafted a working environment that works for me and I am significantly more productive for it.
However, I appreciate that the switch to remote working isn’t for everyone. It’s not the technology that is the issue, it’s the physical surroundings and the mindset.
I’ve read a lot this week about tips for home working, some of it has been very useful. But what most of it has failed to do is take into account the individual. There isn’t a blueprint.
One of the most common tips I have heard is to make sure you get dressed every day and without running the risk of sounding like a slob, that really doesn’t bother me. Hey, I will go so far as to admit that some days I have even worked from bed still in my dressing gown. I have been no less effective for it. I should also add that this doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is OK.
So that is why I am not going to offer any specific tips. Everyone is different and it is about finding a pattern and an approach that works for you (within the parameters of your role requirements of course), but what I will say is this:
We all need to recognise that most people, me included, are finding it hard to fully concentrate on work right now. We’re focused on our health, the health of our families and friends, and whether we’re going to have an income. Not to mention how to balance work with kids.
None of this is going to be easy.
I’m not advocating we all down tools, in fact we’ve been rushed off our feet all week helping clients on internal and external coronavirus related communications, and certain parts of the media are still running non-coronavirus related stories. There is still work to do. However, to employers, I would say this: cut your staff some slack right now, they’ll thank you for it in the long-run.
To employees, don’t give up, do what you can. For many the normalcy of work, even if operating from a different environment can be a good distraction.
Wishing all of our clients, contacts and friends resilience for the months ahead.