Sunday, 27 December 2020

The Transition

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If you have been keeping up with this blog and like me have been still working hard, you have probably been doing so from home. My blogpost from April2020 explored our challenges with Teams, Zoom and the whole working in your PJ’s (bottom half only though)!

Its fair to say, if you are lucky enough to be able to do your job remotely, like me you have probably adapted by now to it. I feel sorry for the many people who’s jobs do not allow working from home. Many of those, have found work has often evaporated, or often as a matter of course puts them in potential danger. I say thank you now, to each and every one of them, for keeping the plates spinning during 2020. Without you all, 2020 might truly have unraveled.

I’m convinced having chatted to scores of friends, contacts, colleagues over this year, that there is never going to be going back to exactly as we was. Particularly at work.

I don't know who originated this, but big credit to Clare, who first shared with me 8-)

Interestingly back in Feb/early Mar 2020, I was starting a big piece of work with a medium sized social housing landlord, with over a hundred staff, who had only just moving into some new serviced offices. Little did they know that over the next nine months, those plush offices would only ever be about 15% full. Now no one I know there can imagine a total return to the old ways.

A friend of mine who lives locally, who I have known a couple of decades, has worked the last nine months from home, with his other half doing the same. Clearly that’s been a bit claustrophobic at times. It could help you connect with your partner better or maybe hasten a breakup of course!

His employer, a nationwide waterways charity, has decided its quite liking most of its staff working from home. Its planning to mandate it as universal going forward. In fact it appears to have plans to sell off offices, probably some nice canal-side locations, which might become quite valuable with housing planning permission. So you can see the rational.

How does my friend feel?

Well he’s not overwhelmed to be honest, as you might expect.

That’s not what he signed up for initially in his job and he wont receive any compensation, his extra heating expenses, are regarded as offsetting his fuel he might have used traveling to work. Now, I’m no HR expert (although I have procured a few HR/Payroll systems in my time). Maybe one of my hardcore HR expert contacts, might be able to clarify what employment law might mandate around this? Please comment!

So, mid-Covid19 we have moved forward faster in nine months, than in the last nine years, for work flexibility. However, would it work for many of us meshing home and work life going forward? Going back to pre-industrial times, home and work was often the same thing. During Medieval times, most working-class English people lived in work-homes. The single-story, one-room houses were “a combination of kitchen and spinning/weaving/dressmaking workshop, bedroom and dairy, dining room, butchery, tannery, and byre.”. It was ‘all hands on deck’.

I’d like to question, without coming across as a Luddite, if we would all totally embrace a return to all that?

I think I know the answer, but I would love to hear your take on it.

I have worked independently for nearly a decade and I miss being in an office with colleagues you can lean over to and bounce ideas, questions (and sarcasm) off. Collaboration is an essential part of a healthy work-life balance, for people. It also adds value to the organisation, its staff and its customers.

It will be interesting to see how companies manage the balance here, with a particular emphasis on SocialHousing. I would not like to see service to residents to be reduced. If practical, this situation and the experience of the last nine months, can improve service to tenants and other residents. That would be my hope anyway.

Related Post: Don't let your self-servers down, You might not get a second chance....


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

The Longcut – TransitionThe Longcut – Transition.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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