Over the last 7 months the country has had to adapt to a brand new working environment, with many of us working from home for a period of time. As most of the Talking Tables team has slowly headed back into the office we have members of the team who have continued working from home. As individuals and a business we have all had to navigate this challenge. This week Dan and Kelsang reflected on how they’ve found it:
- How did you find the transition from office life to working from home?
Kelsang - I initially found it strange, not hard but strange as I had never done it before but after two weeks I got used to it. I still go into the office a couple of days a week which works for me. Having an office set up at home really helped that transition and the mindset that I am now at work not at home.
Dan – I agree, it’s very much a change. The access to information and having your team around you are not there so you do a lot of answering your own questions. It takes away that teamwork side so you have to adapt, but technology like Zoom and Teams allow a different way to interact with colleagues. So although I found that tricky to start I soon found that arranging those Zoom calls takes people away and allows them to give you their full attention, so that’s definitely a positive. I do feel the need to be in the office is there - currently I’m only in once every 2 weeks so find that time is really beneficial.
The world we are in at the moment means a lot of people have had to adapt to working from home so I think it’s just a different way of working that has both positives and negatives. An example would be the way we work with overseas customers- previously it was just expected that you would need that face to face contact and you’d jump on a plane and physically travel to different places to better understand the market. Now we know that actually Zoom or phone calls are enough we have adapted ways to present and show the products. It also cuts down the expense!
- What do you miss the most about being in the office?
Kelsang – I miss being able to just go to someone and getting an answer to something. Email and messages don’t allow for that as people are busy so you don’t often get that instant reaction. I also miss being around my team and speaking with the sales team, bouncing off ideas, the brainstorming through just random chats. When I’m in the office I feel I intake so much more information in that one day, even just being in the kitchen and having passing conversation.
Dan – Absolutely, it’s the little conversations that are work-related that mean you learn so much more and everyone is on the same wavelength. I feel I sometimes have the same conversation 3 times where in the office it would just be a meeting with everyone together. At the moment we are trying to kickstart a lot of the AW21 products and I want to try and create an event day where we are all engaged and trying out the samples. Trying to move that forward is a challenge when you’re not physically there, as I am just having to send emails and try to get everyone on board where normally you’d chat to people and bounce off each other’s ideas. Equally like you said having a chit-chat and seeing what’s going on in people’s lives is so important. Having those friendships is very important now as people aren’t seeing friends and family as much so that interaction is key. As a company I think we are very aware of that – it’s not all about work but building friendships.
- What would you say has helped you adapt to the change?
Kelsang - I would say creating an office space has helped me. It’s like compartmentalising your mental space in a physical way. When I sit down at my office space at home I’m like okay I’m at work now, and we have a lot of Zoom calls so it feel like I’m connected. Having all the tools is important – my desk, laptop, screen, everything set up like I’m at the office. When I started I was sat wherever as I wasn’t used to working from home, so I didn’t connect mentally to the tasks because I wasn’t in that headspace.
Dan- There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve finished work and then you’re in the same environment. What helped me is I have the office space in Leeds that I use once a week. It’s great to have that working environment and mentality with no distractions. I feel like Talking Tables has supported working from home and the management side. People are always happy to take calls for any questions, across all departments.
Kelsang -- Yes I can call the team whenever I want. It definitely helps to bridge the gap of not being there physically all the time.
Dan - I don’t know what they did before zoom! You’d have had to go into the office to get everything done.
Kelsang – That’s why people get such clogged up inboxes as they only ever used emails. Weird to think!
- What do you love about how Talking Tables does working from home?
Kelsang – I think they’ve been really accommodating since lockdown. I had to work from home a bit earlier than everyone and straight away they sent my monitor and all my work things and been really understanding..
Dan – I agree. When we speak of wellbeing I think TT are conscious of this and will check in and see that you have the support and resources needed. It’s definitely not an attitude of just ‘get on with it.’ You are still part of Talking Tables, and if there are any social occasions they encourage having you there and offer hotels to make sure you feel part of the family.
Kelsang – Even when it was peak lockdown having the daily TT sync and fun quizzes - they tried to make sure everyone spirits were up and doing okay without having the normal amount of interaction.