Working remotely – our experiences
The year marker has passed. The home offices are well and truly established. We asked our staff what the highs and lows of working remotely long-term have been and what they think about a future where remote working takes a much more significant role.
The consensus was that working remotely has been hugely beneficial to family life, whether it’s seeing more of our loved ones or being able to take a more active role in caring responsibilities.
For some staff, the chance to see their children make those precious transitions from crawling to walking has been a huge benefit.
For others, the chance to take the time to check in and deliver groceries to ageing parents has been invaluable. Aside from the occasional interruption on a videocall, we all agreed that that working remotely has hugely enriched family life.
Whether we’re walking, cycling, driving, or getting the train into work, the unanimous verdict on the year spent remote working was that we’re all much better off – financially and in terms of time – without the commute to and from work.
While for some, time in the car can be time to decompress, to sing along to the radio or to mull over the work you’re hoping to complete that day, the option to evade rush hour traffic has been rewarding to us all.
An unexpected outcome from our internal poll was that the time previously spent commuting freed up staff to invest more time working up a sweat.
While gyms were closed, reports of lunchtime runs and digital fitness classes told a story of increased opportunities taken to get out and burn some off some energy.
Reducing our carbon footprint
We all know there is a need to do more to save the planet and to take meaningful action.
One of the greatest benefits of remote working has been the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint.
With estimates from the Carbon Trust that shifting to homeworking could result in the annual savings of over 3 million tonnes of carbon, remote working has been an opportunity for many of us to enact change we wouldn’t otherwise be able to make.
As previously mentioned, the lack of commute in many cases came through in many of our internal responses, with staff highlighting the cost savings also associated with no longer needing to drive, bus or get the train into work.
For the one member of staff within walking distance of this office, this was not applicable as a benefit but for the remainder, substantive savings were made.
The shift to making wholesome food at home had an impact not only on nutritional wellbeing but also financial, with many staff happy to no longer filling up on expensive sandwiches from the local supermarket.
While Hireserve offices are a tranquil place to be, the standard office noise is inevitable.
Deliveries at the door, the phones ringing, the conversations of colleagues – they’re all disruptive in their own minor ways.
Several staff highlighted the time spent uninterrupted and undistracted at home as being a considerable benefit to their work over the last year.
The increased focus on delivering project work throughout 2020 has been very complementary in tandem with remote working, staff having more time to immerse themselves in work entirely.
Feedback from staff reflected that it’s highly satisfying to achieve much more than they otherwise might with normal workplace disruption.
And the downsides
While Hireserve staff had many things to enthuse about in their transition to full time home working, it wouldn’t be accurate if we didn’t highlight that working remotely hasn’t been exclusively great.
Working longer hours came up – without the definitive days end that occurs when you physically leave a workplace, some staff found themselves lingering at their laptops longer than they would have otherwise.
In tandem with this was the feeling of struggling to switch off, with the boundary between home and work blurred more than ever.
What does this mean for the future?
We are currently looking at our longer terms plans for our return to the office.
The clear positives of remote working have been beneficial to individuals as well as the business and we want to take these forwards into our ‘new way of working’ – making sure we continue to provide a fantastic and supportive working environment, welcoming the benefits of remote working in people’s lives whilst continuing to provide our award-winning customer care.
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