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Commentary

The unexpected challenges and upsides of home working

5, May 2020

For those of us who are used to home working, the change of situation has been rather easier to adapt to than for those with less experience. That said, it is no longer the occasional day once a week, it is every day. And it isn’t just us at home either; our colleagues, neighbors, and families are also at home, which can cause some unexpected challenges. And no one is immune!

We have heard stories of husbands and wives battling it out over who gets the office and who has to make do with the kitchen table. There is also the ongoing struggle for Wi-Fi and broadband, as more people in the house and surrounding area consume more services and keep contention high. We were amused to hear about what happened when a member of our legal team set their children up online with some games to keep them quiet during an important call. While the children were successfully entertained, their streaming put extra contention on the Wi-Fi, which resulted in some interesting “freeze frames” on the video call.

Home working is also adding a new dimension to work relationships. As video calls are more frequent, it is providing us all with new insights into what was previously an unseen world; our colleagues’ homes. We have had conversations about the artwork hanging on the walls behind them, the DVD collections in the background, the renovations to their conservatory, and on sunny days, even tours of their gardens.

We are getting to see their partners, their pets, and in some cases, young children who are intrigued by the call and want to be part of it. Others are totally oblivious to the call and understandably just want a slice of attention – in their minds their parents are at home, not work! In just a few short weeks, we have been delighted by our colleagues’ children as they clamored for approval of their coloring, begged for cake, sang for us, and memorably, once stole their father’s webcam and started to walk away with it. Understandably, some of our more organised colleagues are going to the lengths of drawing up a rota for childcare duties around their work commitments, which is creating more flexible working patterns.

Although it is an adjustment, and many of us are still figuring out how to optimize our working environments, we are building a better understanding of the people we work with. That can only be a positive in developing stronger relationships and working more effectively with them.

We would love to hear your stories- how are you facing these new challenges? How do you think working relationships will change when we come out the other side?

We will be exploring some topics like these in our virtual Coffee Club soon. Join us for a quick video about what’s new and trending in communications every week, coming soon! 

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