Across the world, people are having to get used to working from home – many for the first time. While this was introduced to our agency some time ago, the circumstances are completely different now. We are all having to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is a look at the experiences of Max Morgans, an Executive on our ASO team in London, as he has got used to working from home.
My WFH life kicked off with the news that I would have to complete a period of isolation after indirectly encountering COVID-19. To set the scene, I’m in the middle of buying a property and currently living with a friend in what is essentially a one-bedroom flat. At the time of discovering we had come into contact with the virus, my friend, my girlfriend, and I, were all in the flat. This meant we were stuck there until we all completed the advised period of self-quarantine.
My girlfriend is a doctor working for the NHS, she, of course, could not WFH. My friend Jim and I were both set up to work remotely and had to quickly adapt to not just working from home but working in full isolation for over a week in a one-bedroom flat holding three people.
Introducing the Call Centre
The challenges of this new working environment quickly presented themselves. Taking calls, a large part of both mine and Jim’s jobs, was the first obstacle. It took 2 minutes of being in the same room as each other on separate business calls for us to realise this was not going to work. My friend’s bedroom was from then on, the ‘call centre’. Each morning we would align on when each of us had calls, we’d book out the call centre and that would be that.
Different people work best at different times in the day. We became aware of this quite quickly and we were all very mindful of not being distracting or generally annoying to someone who is getting stuck into a big stint of work.
Setting up our home gym
Exercise. Now this was a concern from the off. All three of us consider exercise to play a huge part in our daily ‘normal’ lives. We are all used to exercising every-day, often more. For myself, exercise is more than just a hobby or a vanity practice, I need exercise for my mental well-being and concentration levels, I always have. Having a pretty good knowledge of how to effectively train and workout, we decided indoor circuit training would be a great way to stay fit and fill our very empty evenings. We even used our extra time to create an Instagram fitness channel – follow us @maxandjim_quarantineworkouts. My girlfriend, Victoria, took part in the videos and used her knowledge as a doctor to answer people’s questions about the COVID-19 situation. I was surprised by how quickly friends got involved! Before long we had a fair few followers with some even sending in their own attempts at the exercises. It was great to have something alongside work, eating and sleeping to get stuck into, I would advise anyone else to do the same and find a little side project.
Going home home
Once we had completed our period of self-isolation, my girlfriend was back to work, and Jim and I could no longer see her due to her exposure to COVID-19. We both returned to our parent’s homes in Kent. Here, I had to adapt to another WFH environment. Fortunately, my family home was bigger than the flat meaning we all have our own space to work in. Being mindful of each other and different work schedules is a development in progress, as many know.
Being locked down in Kent has made me very appreciative of my situation. Although I won’t see my girlfriend or friends for a while, I have space to go for a walk without seeing a single person. I’ve used this to my advantage and decided to experiment with my hair a little bit, when else can you have a Mohawk while working and get away with it?
In a short space of time, I’ve become accustomed to efficiently working from home. Daily catchups with my manager and almost constant communication on slack has stopped any feelings of work isolation. Zoom has been a great way of keeping in touch, at times I forget we’re miles apart. Being in a small team, it’s important to hold on to those relationships across the office – even it’s just for a lunchtime chat. In the diary we’ve got zoom yoga sessions, pub quizzes, I’ve even volunteered to lead a HIIT class. It’s important to balance your work with fun and not forget that you don’t spend an entire workday at your desk.
We may not yet know when all of this will end, but in the meantime, here are some of the things that have helped me, and could help you:
- Get a side project you are passionate about
- Separate your work time and personal time
- Keep in regular contact with your colleagues and friends
- Be mindful of those you’re sharing a space with
- Go and follow @maxandjim_quarantineworkouts, I hear they are great
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