Here at PDS we work very closely as a team, both at work and socially. So when we had to quickly adapt to remote working during the pandemic, there was a lot to consider. One of our team members, Lynne Page has written a guest blog covering some of her experiences. We hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your thoughts too.
One of the top priorities as soon as the pandemic started was getting the work – home – life balance right.
As a team everyone at PDS had to adapt to this new way of working and be as flexible as we could be, which has often meant working longer and harder, but surprisingly we found ourselves being more effective, thereby decreasing the stress of work.
The situation we found ourselves in has meant that in order to achieve our objectives, there had to be more work sharing between us all, which in turn has actually made for better productivity and closer team interactions. It has allowed our team to maintain structure and continuity within our working week, even enjoying weekly Zoom coffee breaks!
Very early on in the pandemic, PDS recognised the struggles that parents faced with balancing home-schooling while also working from home and they quickly moved to support flexible working arrangements. Working around home-schooling could have caused issues and stresses for those team members facing key deadlines and who also were parents, but with open and honest discussions as a team, we decided on the flexibility of either starting work earlier, working in the afternoons when school was over, or working later into the evenings when the children were settled for the night. Deadlines were also flexed accordingly to allow us to better juggle home and work commitments.
With some members of the team not having children, this flexible approach has enabled us all to establish a day and night shift way of working, with a late afternoon/early evening handover of projects and work to ensure continuity and decrease any risks of key tasks being missed.
We would never have envisaged working this way before but the constraints we faced forced us to think outside the box and has resulted in an incredibly efficient production of work, with deadlines being easily met, and leading to significantly increased value of using PDS being added for our clients.
We are a very close knit team at PDS, even without close contact day to day. Very early into the lockdowns, the management team understood that remote working can have a detrimental impact on an employee, with the possibility of them feeling isolated and withdrawn or suffering with stress and anxiety.
The senior team ensured that vital contact was continuously made with all co-workers and cultivated a sense of belonging to help normalise remote working. We regularly had breakfast meetings and team get togethers over coffee to include everyone and keep them in the loop.
One major benefit for me while working from home is no longer having to commute to the office. No more sitting in a slow-moving queue of traffic, feeling the anxiety rise in case I was going to be late for work. Working from home has given us that precious extra time for yourself at the beginning and end of the day to do with what you will.
Some of us also like the fact that we don’t have to ‘get ready for work’. It’s completely your decision if you want to turn up for work in your usual work attire or be completely comfortable in loungewear and no makeup. No one judges you!
Although we are all spending more time working at our screens, Zoom and Teams can only be seen as a positive for us. They enable us all to keep the close contact we are so used to, even though it’s not in person. Still being able to have regular team meetings and catch ups, not just over the phone but being able to see our colleagues’ faces has been immeasurable really.
There is nothing quite like seeing a beaming smile on the face of someone you know and value.
Through the power of Zoom and Teams we have been able to ‘meet’ clients that we have been working with for many years. The remote working has made us come together for meetings and, at long last, we have been able to put a face to a name and voice and achieve so more from a meeting because it is face to face, not just a phone call or an email.
Teams has allowed team members to have face to face meetings with just a ‘ping’ on Teams, just like they are popping over to a colleague’s desk!
It does make one question quite apparent though…will working in an office no longer be the norm after the pandemic? Will home working will be the new norm for us all, with companies just hiring a space for key meetings and conferences?
Humans are such social beings and personally, I don’t see this enforced separation lasting once the coronavirus is better understood and controlled. We will have to live with some of the changes we have adapted to for several years to come, but we will eventually return to our office spaces, albeit it with a more flexible and caring approach to the work and deadlines we face.
Luckily with the support of the entire team at PDS, we will be learning from everything that we have experienced over the last year or so and taking the best elements to make ourselves even better…for us, for our colleagues and for our clients.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ Lynne Page
~ 08 February 2021