With the entire country now on Lockdown, the majority of the UK’s workers have now implemented some sort of ‘working from home’ strategy. Here’s our experience so far...
At Arkhi, we’re currently at the end of our first week of working from home. Flexibility is key to enable this to work, as employees are being forced to learn quickly how to juggle family life, education, and working, all under one roof.
Technology is obviously going to play a big factor, as it allows us to keep that vital connection with each other and the rest of the outside world. As a creative business, we have particularly become accustomed to ‘throwing ideas’ around our working office (two heads are better than one and all that!), and it’s odd when the ability to do this is suddenly taken away. We’ve found that we rely massively on having good IT support, and that we must focus on user-friendly programmes that the whole team can familiarise themselves with as quickly as possible. We’ve been using the team communication app ‘Slack’ to keep in contact. This enables us to have project specific text discussion channels for each project, and also has a plug-in video calls app called ‘Zoom’ which we use to chat to each other. So far it’s been working great!
It’s important to try to develop some sort of working routine, and we’ve all been checking in with each other for a morning Team Discussion video chat, and again in the afternoon for an informal coffee break (though this one isn’t mandatory). The calls are particularly important for those in Lockdown alone.
Productivity is helped by having an area at home which can specifically become your ‘office’. This helps other family members to understand when you are working and when you are ‘home’, hopefully minimising disruption.
A lucky few of us will have a designated room that we can use as our workspace, but probably more likely, we’re having to make use of our kitchen worktops and dining tables, with these areas being used by more than one person, including children doing schoolwork.
It is likely that this new way of operating is going to change our working life for ever. After all, things were already progressing this way prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but many businesses were still rather reluctant to allow employees go remote, with concerns over security, lack of collaboration and the potential for some people to become completely isolated. At present we don’t have a definitive timescale for how long the Lockdown measures will be in place – 3 weeks, 12 weeks and ‘maybe up to a year’ have been discussed at various points in the most recent Government announcements. But, but we can certainly say that it will be for a period of time that a lot of businesses just can’t afford to put themselves on hold for, without having a massive financial impact which will put their employees jobs at risk.
So, if a greater percentage of people are going to be working from home in the long term, how can we overcome the problems that people have experienced in this initial period of Lockdown?
Our team has indentified the main problems so far as follows:
Watch this space on our follow up article next week which looks at design solutions to the above problems...