The unprecedented turn of events brought about by the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic has forced the majority of UK’s workforce to start working from home. Many of us are now juggling work, family and children in spaces which can sometimes feel too close for comfort! At spottydog communications and PR agency we have logistically been set up to work remotely at client meetings, events and press briefings for some time. Our IT and phone systems have been recently updated so whilst we knew we could work remotely – the real question was how?
Working from Home
Video conferencing systems have rocketed in popularity and usage since the shutdown began. Microsoft Teams has been our go-to platform for the last few weeks. It’s seamlessly integrated into our existing software and enables us to keep the wider team to engaged. Programmes like Skype for Business have also enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity, with others such as Zoom and Houseparty rocketing in popularity but dogged by security concerns as these smaller platforms are thrust into the limelight.
Working from home is often seen as a perk or benefit but it can also a curse, as Richard Manby outlines in his HR Review article. Having worked remotely in a previous role, I know that there are none of the regular distractions – from catch up coffees and chats – these are also the things that you can miss the most and it can be easy to feel disengaged from work.
From the outset we put in place a structure for our team. Every day starts with a management team catch up to respond to any developments. The whole team are then subsequently briefed immediately afterwards, with team members reporting back on their progress at the end of each day. This structure provides us with a framework and a flow to each day but also enables us to review everyone’s workload.
Keep it Fun
Fun is at the heart of spottydog’s culture. We pride ourselves on employing the very best people in the industry and even though we are working from home we still have a duty to look after them and, more importantly, keep them happy. This is where our social team has come into their own. At 3pm every day we have encouraged team members to down tools and come together for a social call which centres around an activity to make us all smile.
So far, we’ve had quizzes, flat lay challenges, Easter Egg painting and #fakenews headlines to name a few. All this allows us to be creative, blow off steam and introduce a degree of normality to an otherwise abnormal situation.
It remains to be seen whether the current enforced working from home experience challenges perceptions when the lockdown is lifted. I strongly suspect that homeworking will now be at the forefront of many people’s wish lists in future – although for others they may relish the break of coming into the office! For now, I’m enjoying the flexibility and waiting for 3pm to roll round to see what the team have cooked up next – not to mention the change of the view from being inside the usual PR agency.