Home working - week 3 - the pros & cons...
The team work brilliantly together at ChamburyLS, its a real community spirit. Office banter is always high, and co-worker relations are [mostly] like a bunch of friends getting a job done. I often stand at my desk, listening to the laughter coming from the Helpdesk, knowing the work is getting done, but also that spirits are high.
When the workload is high, we work closely together to get the job done. In the last few weeks, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have launched a brand new Totara site, and are in the final design phase for a new site which will enable carers to access training and eCommerce opportunities for an existing NHS customer.
We also go out. A lot. We enjoy each others company outside of the office and enjoy meals and drinks together. Watch out Manchester when the lock down is over ..!
On the day the government announced that the lock down would begin, 23 March 2020, we moved all staff from the offices in Littleborough to home working.
Monitors were dismantled from desks, chairs loaded into cars, laptops and chargers packed up, office phones diverted to mobiles [more mobiles purchased]. Leaving the office cold and empty. I've been back every few days for the post, but its quite sad to see it without its usual personality.
Our work-day-routines are so different now, for myself I've relocated to the dining room which I share with the kids. A teenager at one end, and a 9 year old at the other. It can be quite disruptive when I'm trying to concentrate - although the teenager is getting quite good at making me a cuppa every now and then. Both kids were sent home with timetables and planned work which was good, but they can also be demanding when trying to support customers and launch new sites.
To keep the team together we use MS Teams. Every morning we have a quick huddle. We use this to chat about what we are up to, find out how everyone is, and generally catch up. We sometimes have a quick end-of-the-day huddle as well just to finish off and say goodbye to each other.
It's a great way to keep the team communicating.
I also try to talk to at least one of the team each day to check how they are doing, help prioritise their workload and keep them in the loop.
We had our 'top tips' last week, so this week I asked the team for their 'Pros & Cons' of the change to home-working. This is what they had to say;
Julio (Senior Technical Lead) tells me that "the Pros can include that I am always on time, I don't have to deal with the constant train delays (agh) and I don't waste time on commuting - because there is no commute. That also saves me money. And I can do proper food preparation at lunchtime. The Cons are that it can be lonely and that I have to work from my 'living space' - it blurs the boundary between the office and home."
"The only Pros I have is that I can have a lie in and I can jump straight in the bath after a busy day. But the cons outweigh the Pros. There is no where to escape too if im struggling with a issue or an Excel spreadsheet(!), there is no one to make me surprise cups of tea or to have lunch with and talk nonsense with. We can't have our socials get-togethers, and say 'Good Mornings and Goodbyes' when we arrive and go home. Also, I can't be muted in real life (but I get muted on MS Teams ...!?!)." says Rebecca (Business Development and Implementation Manager)
Masum (PHP Developer) says "There is less distraction from people talking in the office - I rely on self-motivation, self-discipline, focus, and concentration and as long as don't binge on Netflix (LOL), I'm more productive. I can concentrate and create my own environment. But, I forgot to 'clock out' some days, and can feel like I'm not part of the 'team'. I also worry that the others might think I'm not pulling my weight (even though I am!)."
What are my pros and cons? Well, out of the office I can find time to write articles for the blog, update the website, get that stuff done that is usually overlooked by 'work'. The cons are this took me 4 hours to write due to interruptions and the noise of a busy household...!
I'd also like to mention that in the last week one of our staff lost their sister to Covid-19. This person continues on with a brave face, brilliant attitude whilst the pain must be unbearable. If you called the office in the last week you will have spoken with this person; their support is unwavering. A massive shout out to this person from the rest of the team. We are so pleased you work with us. You make us all happy. At this sad time our thoughts are with you.