Since March, a large part of the country has experienced working from home for the first time.  Forced upon us with little or no time to plan, whilst trying to comprehend the scale of the global pandemic, we set up our work life at home.

It was not going to be straight forward; you could not just plug in your laptop and pick up where you left off in the office.  For most businesses, the pandemic was not just a financial problem, but an operational one also.  They were being forced to change the way they operate, quickly.

For the employee, they were also navigating unknown territory, in a personal sense.  We are all creatures of habit; we have our daily routines, and we follow them.  These have had to change, but people accepted this, as a short-term change, on the assumption things would eventually return to normal.  Technology made it possible for business to continue, Zoom became the new normal and we put in place our new daily routines.  We quickly worked out how to do our job from home, working around children, pets, and anything else we were not used to in our ‘workplace’.

With more people getting back into their workplace, in some capacity, what will become the new normal?  Do you see yourself back in the daily commute, fixed hours, like before?  It is different for everyone, in some cases, there is no “work from home” option whilst others have been told to work from home indefinitely.  There has not been enough time yet to assess this properly from a productivity level, especially under these unprecedented circumstances but it has given people the chance to find a bit of a balance.  Are we more productive with our time when we have more flexibility and a voice of how our workday runs?  Does being able to have breakfast with your children, a bike ride through the Surrey Hills at lunchtime or being there at bath time make you more flexible and therefore more willing to clock back on at hours you otherwise would not have?  Will this new normal lead to a more content work-life balance?  There are lots of questions and only time will tell, but one clear and the certain thing that we have learned from this is that we need people.  It is the personal things, like buying your coffee from the same place or person in the morning, to having a gossip with a colleague over a cup of tea, being able to have a face to face conversation or a cheeky glass of wine after work.  In a work environment, we get the social interaction we need, and no Zoom meeting can replace this.

Enjoy the benefits of technology and appreciate the extra family time.  Get yourself properly set up at home, find or make space for a good work area.  Ensure your technology is as good as it can be and smile at moments you might have otherwise missed.  Equally, remember the importance of the office, the importance of colleagues and social interaction.  It is all about balance.