So, last week we explored the relatively new phenomenon of mass scale working from home, and aside from the chaotic and unpredictable mishaps that we’ve all encountered, there does at least seem to be some legs in the idea that this could become more of a mainstream way of working.
To be honest, there simply has to be legs in it, whether we like it or not!
Not convinced that this is for the best?
Well, it’s fair to say that neither are the team at 2080e, but in the interests of fairness, we spoke to several people with wholly positive outlooks on the situation, to see if they could change our mind.
It’s fair to say that whilst they were all undoubtedly forced to endure the same storm these last few months, the vessels they have navigated said storm in, may have differed slightly.
Enough of the nautical analogies though.
Let’s meet out first home worker…
Joseph is an independent mortgage advisor, who normally works from a rented office space in central Manchester.
It isn’t the most sociable of jobs, by his own admission, but working from home looked like it would probably mean even less interaction with fellow ‘hot deskers’ and office renters.
That interaction, however small and seemingly insignificant, plays a big part in the way we see the world of work. And the world in general, for that matter.
Acknowledgement. Eye contact. Human voices.
From a technical point of view, working from home should’ve been a breeze for Joseph.
High speed internet, video calling facilities, and the same access to lenders, banks and clients as before, just without the face to face he was used to.
But Joseph has 3 children under the age of 8.
And a wife who is classed as a key worker.
In an attempt to ride the wave (and we realise that the nautical analogies are back all of a sudden) Joseph decided to fly into the first few weeks as if everything would be OK.
Positive Mental Attitude.
Nothing wrong with that.
These plans were out of the window by midday on the first day.
Home schooling, babysitting, cooking, cleaning AND being a successful independent mortgage advisor, it turns out, aren’t actually compatible.
Who’d have thought it?
So how and why then, is Joseph’s outlook on home working positive now?
Because he was able to use perspective.
Joseph quickly altered his daily plans to make them much more realistic. His work was streamlined wherever possible, and though he was still available to his clients throughout the day, he was also able to schedule call backs for when he had finished playing a few rounds of FIFA with his son or princesses with his daughter.
Nappy changes, it is now clear to Joseph, absolutely have to take priority over client emails.
His zoom calls were usually scheduled to coincide with snack and TV time, whilst the unseasonably good weather we had in May, meant that the garden served as a play centre-come office-come daddy day care.
Amazon Prime came in handy, too.
The perspective Joseph found was that it isn’t always going to be like this.
He actually managed to save money by letting the office space go, and found that by working a few hours in the evening, he was still able to put the same amount of time into a days’ work.
Not ideal no, but the kids will go back to school eventually, and then, it might just be better.
That’s how Joseph’s looking at it anyway, and he’s already making plans to ensure his new way of working becomes his preferred way of working, for the long term.
He’s developing his office space, cutting his overheads as much as possible and even considering condensing his working week into 4 days.
If that’s not a positive outlook on the whole working from situation, then we don’t know what is.
It isn’t the same for everyone, we know that, but Joseph’s story hasn’t been without its bumps in the road.
Missed phone calls, disappointed clients, late nights.
Joseph’s new found perspective though, means that these bumps in the road are actually great big learning opportunities.
Every problem has to be overcome. And then it isn’t a problem any more.
Gyms closing should’ve been the final nail in the coffin for Tameside based Personal Trainer Daniel.
No one allowed in meant suspended contracts, suspended classes and suspended income.
Sadly, there was no suspension in rent, living costs or child maintenance.
A business that had taken years to nurture into a successful entity was staring down the barrel of closure and bankruptcy.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention, it is said, and Daniel set to work on a new range of online fitness packages, first marketing to his existing clients, and then to the wider world.
The popularity of these packages, with their daily updates and bespoke features, has seen the business grow like never before. Everything has been done ‘in house’, from home, under lockdown.
The gym’s doors are opening up again, but Daniel will be spending more time at home, fine tuning his online provision, especially as it has facilitated rapid growth.
More clients and more money.
If two examples aren’t enough to sway your opinion, then fair enough, it shouldn’t be. After all, the purpose of this blog is to show how home working can be beneficial for some people, not everyone.
How about a third example then?
And a fourth?
These two are similar to each other in that they involve nice things, and diversification.
A brewery and a bakery.
The brewery, based in Glossop, Derbyshire, has been delivering crates, barrels and bottles of real ale to punters who would’ve otherwise been in their pub.
Not strictly working from home, but it’s nowhere near their usual gig.
The bakery has premises in Worsley, Manchester, and is usually a busy spot for people of all ages, serving up biscuits, buns and brews seven days a week.
Their diversification has seen them develop their cake making skills, taking commissions, creating masterpieces, and delivering happiness to customers across Greater Manchester.
The bulk of this work, bar the delivery side of things of course, has been done from home, whilst juggling parenting, home schooling and the mass hysteria of a global pandemic.
Not too bad at all.
Four business owners forced to work from home.
Four different stories.
Four positive outlooks.
Diversification is key.
Patience is too.
The storm shall pass. Will you be racing back to the office?
Or is home where the future is?