19/03/20, Stuart Pownall

Remarkable story: Working from home, Day 1

#RemarkableKindnesses, #MakeItRemarkable

Remarkable, like many other organisations, were planning and preparing to begin working from home. We had scheduled a stress test of our systems by working at home for one day at the end of the week. Just to make sure everything worked.

Then came the announcement and our plans had to be put into action earlier than we had hoped.

Some of the team have worked from home before, perhaps one or two days a week. Most of us however have always arrived at the office in the morning, so for us, this was completely new. This is how we got on.

The morning began with trying to find a comfortable space to work in. My wife works from home all the time so I was very aware that I was in her workspace and her routine was also about to change.

At 9:30am I joined my first MSN Teams call. An opportunity to test our setups, talk about our concerns, share some important hints and tips and plan for the day. It was hilarious and got the day off to a great start. Tips included sticking to your routine, taking regular breaks and trying to get some exercise. At lunchtime we scheduled a MSN Teams Lunch Club so that we could all come together over lunch like we do everyday in the office. It was at this point that my wife and I created an imaginary work colleague to blame for leaving the dirty dishes in the sink!

At the end of the day we had our wrap up call to check in on each other.  It was during this call I asked my colleagues for their opinions on working from home. What had gone well, not so well and what do we need to do to make this work for everyone.

The overarching theme was the regular check-ins, particularly the lunch club. Some of us have family at home with us but others do not, and you can very quickly begin to feel isolated and alone. We may have contact with others via video or phone but you must put some time aside to have a social interaction, not just a work-related one.

For those in our team who had previously worked from home this was the first time they had experienced this kind of social time with the rest of the team and this is something we would hope to continue as and when normality resumes.

The experience was also a great team-building exercise. These are colleagues I spend a significant portion of my day with. I feel as if I know them well, we’ve talked about their lives, their families, their homes but now, I get to see this part of their lives.

In our morning call we took the time to have a little tour around each other’s homes...Through The Keyhole my colleague exclaimed. We also got introduced to their partners, spouses, children, and family pets. After only one day I feel closer to all of my colleagues, I’m more aware of the things that go on in their lives.

We’re also helping each other out much more than before. The camaraderie was clear to see, to feel and to experience as we planned out our days.

Nobody knows how long this is going to last and I’m certain we will all have good days and bad days as we adapt to this new way of working. I feel incredibly well supported by my colleagues and I hope they feel that way too. Our first remote working day was a positive and successful experience, long may it continue.

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