Enforced working from home – how is that going? It might be ok while the kids are still at school or your partner is still in their office. It might even seem like a nice break from the routine.
One of the joys of my life is to have been able to work from home for nearly a decade now. If you’re just embarking on this journey, here’s what I’ve learned.
It’s still work. Yes you can watch daytime tv (but why would you want to?). There will be no sarcastic comments on the length of your coffee breaks. However, work has to be done. Get out of your pjs and into some clothes. With fewer interruptions, you may get through your tasks quickly and then there will be no-one to stop you clocking off early.
It’s still home. Don’t turn your house into an office. Close your laptop and remove it from the kitchen table at the end of the day. Play with the dog during your coffee break. You cannot recreate your office environment in the place where you wash your pants. Don’t stop home being your safe place because you are also working there.
Go outside. If you are not self-isolating, this is so crucial. Walk around the block, pop to the shops, chat to the neighbours. I never, ever stay inside all day as I did when I worked in an agency environment. I get up, peg out the washing, feed the cat, stand with the sun on my face. It is surreal and damaging to go from a busy work environment to complete solitude – interact with your world.
Work on your patience. This is self-directed. My partner also works from home but is often away. Not now he isn’t, he’s here all the freaking time. It is quite possible to love your partner and adore your children without having to be with them every second of every day. Find degrees of separation. Ban them from your work area for a couple of hours at a time. Most importantly, don’t bore them with your work just because you are at home. No-one wants to know, unless it involves really big money.
Don’t jump too soon. It’s quite possible that many people will enjoy this working from home interlude and may wish to make it a more permanent fixture in their lives. There is no right time to make this change but beware – if you are not socially established, you have suddenly chosen to close a lot of doors. Think carefully about when and how you will interact with people face to face. The richness of our relationships is fundamental to our wellbeing.
It’s worth mentioning that for us to even have this option is such a privilege. For the many who cannot easily move their job to their front room – the hospitality and entertainment industries spring to mind – this pandemic is a disaster. Let’s muddle through the best we can and who knows, maybe your work/life balance will find refreshment in the longer term.
Photo by Martin Castro on UnsplashRead More »
I saw a client recently who I first met seven years ago, when we were establishing the brand for her new company. Her business has progressed from a homegrown start-up to an established and sought after presence in her market. This got me thinking about how, while of course clients and businesses come and go, most of the people I work for regularly, I have been with for many years. That is to say, amidst a difficult trading environment, there are owner managed businesses that continue successfully year on year.
So why do some business thrive while others fold? I’m not an accountant or a business analyst and I’m sure their answers would be different to mine (and contain a lot more charts). This is what I see: if there is a secret to success in business, it’s that these companies are managed by people who are passionate about their product. Even years in, they are evangelical about what they sell, provide or deliver. They do not compromise over anything – of course immediately quality springs to mind but it’s much wider than that. They are ethical in their dealings, treating their teams and their suppliers fairly. Customer service is not a commodity to be farmed out; they know their clientele by name so it’s not a transaction, it’s a relationship. These people are successful because they are very very good at what they do.
The Measure of Success
This is not say that such business do not go through hard times; virtually every meeting I have at the moment is to drive sales in an increasingly tough climate. It is nothing short of a tragedy when such businesses can’t continue. Conversely, it is a joy when they thrive, innovate and throw down the challenge to up and coming competitors to achieve more and be better.
Not everyone wants to grow in size, to have multiple outlets or big teams. That should never be the measure of success in business. Instead I would measure success as being there year after year, worthy of that classic phrase ‘well-established’. These are the businesses we should be celebrating and emulating, those that stay the course.Read More »
The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law will be implemented in May 2018. It’s easy to think, as I did after working on a compliance project earlier in the year, that it only applies to those holding data on tens of thousands of customers, prospects or suppliers. However, GDPR applies to every organisation that holds any personal data. Continue ReadingRead More »
Today, as all the world is ‘working from home’ on a snowy day, it’s business as usual for me. I’m all set, I just walk from my kitchen to my office. It is the best commute ever. This and so many other reasons make the freelance life hard to beat. Continue ReadingRead More »
I’ve just obediently filled in the Harrogate Borough Council survey on proposals for the town’s economic growth strategy. Going through the questionnaire crystallised the views that have been forming in my mind over the past couple of years. I work for local businesses, mostly B2C, so heavily reliant on Brand Harrogate. Which does not exist. Continue ReadingRead More »
I had such a lovely day yesterday celebrating the successes of two of my clients. Brace is enjoying ten years of running a great business with sought after products and an international client list. Silson Contemporary is just starting out but is already building a great reputation for championing local talent and is creating a must-visit destination. Continue ReadingRead More »