Back in the late 1980s I moved jobs from an internal sales role to sales training. This meant my office base in Reading was not as practical to do my training preparation and course design as it was working from home in Bristol.
Although my employer at the time was an IT giant and a real leader in networking, we hadn’t got to the stage where the networking technology was used company-wide. Staying connected with my colleagues was by the more “traditional” methods.
I knew my lack of self-discipline and tendency to be distracted made me a non-starter in any future roles that needed me to work from home. Unsure of how I would be able to leave my desk in our well-equipped office with plenty of space, would I find space in my small flat to carry on managing my workload?
It took some time to get it right. I don’t have a spare room to keep my IT equipment, so no multi-screen setup for me, occasionally using my keyboard and mouse for ergonomic purposes. I also went to a well-known Swedish superstore and bought a medium-priced office chair. This also meant I needed to splash out on a shed to put in my postage-stamp sized garden to move the chair outside office hours (no room inside sadly).
I use my dining table as a desk but move it every morning from one side of the room to the other, giving me a window view. This gives the impression of being in a different room.
How do I keep the discipline? I use a page a day diary with a list of what needs to be done, and the highlighter pen (different colour for each day) crosses off each item when actioned. TV goes off before I start working and the radio remains on at a low volume, to keep some music.
We’re very lucky at ARV Solutions to have a strong team ethos, and a top-down commitment to the welfare of all our people. We meet all together three times during the week and our own team will have a morning “drum beat”, as well as a 3pm catch-up. TEAMS is a constant companion for us to be able to speak to one another face to face. It’s a very good alternative to wandering over to a colleague’s desk in the office.
So where am I in the return to the office? I have reduced immunity issues, so for the time being I’m staying at home and there’s no pressure for me to return to the office. I’m looking forward to being amongst my colleagues in person, but thanks to technology and a very strong team culture, working from home continues to be a very effective way of keeping me productive.
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