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Working from Home: Week 1

Working from Home: Week 1

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Last week I wrote a piece on Working from Home (WFH) and what employees and employers can do to look after employee wellbeing while they are working remotely in these unprecedented times. You can read the article here: www.mattioliwoods.com/latest-articles/employee-benefits/working-from-home-focus-on-employee-wellbeing-not-just-it.

I thought I’d provide an update towards the end of the first week of enforced WFH with some thoughts and feelings that have occurred to me as events unfold.

Personally, I’ve been WFH off and on since 1994 – the days when you couldn’t use the phone and download emails at the same time! So, I’ve become used to how home working is, the challenges and the workarounds.

This feels different.

Obviously in the past (B.C. – Before COVID-19!) the majority of my colleagues were office based and now almost all of us are working remotely. We are making a real effort to keep in touch by phone and it’s been interesting sharing stories about various glitches and frustrations, hardware and broadband issues, poor mobile phone signals, etc., but generally speaking we are all working on the basis of ‘business as usual’ and a new type of team spirit is emerging from the shared experience.

The messaging around employee wellbeing and self-care seems to be really resonating with colleagues. I’ve had a number of calls just ‘checking in’ to see how I am, and I believe that this is happening across our team. People are making sure that they take breaks at lunchtime to get fresh air, going for a walk or a run (my plans yesterday were curtailed by a midday downpour!). There seems to be a level of stoicism developing, the idea that we’ll make the best of the situation and whatever occurs next.

Things are changing daily; to illustrate this, my first draft of this article finished:

Talking about fresh air, the National Trust is providing free access to all its gardens and outdoor properties (about 200 countrywide); buildings are shutting on 20 March, but if you have National Trust property close by you a walk in the countryside could be a welcome distraction from the current events!

This is not now the case. The spring weather at the weekend resulted in crowds at many rural/coastal locations, and the National Trust has now closed all its properties. Crowds are the issue here, so try to get some fresh air but follow the social distancing rule – keep two metres apart.