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Creatively Working Through COVID Part 4

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Challenge accepted, Mike! With managing teams across Europe, Middle East and Australia, this lockdown situation is a big change, with many challenges. However, it’s also great to be home-based for an extended period of time and sleep in my own bed every night!

It’s a terrible time for many across the world, who are suffering, struggling, mourning and worried about the future; I’m grateful for the good health of my family and our colleagues.

Tell us about the quirks of your new co-workers.

It’s a full house here in Sheffield, England — with myself, my wife, 3 teenagers and our excitable dog. At least the dog isn’t competing for the WiFi bandwidth!

Jo and I are both home-based, so already had a home office set up. Our three kids (Eleanor, Sam and Evie) are adapting pretty well to School from Home. It’s been strange for them because they had one week of remote schooling, then an extended Easter school holiday break, while the teachers got to grips with Google Classroom, and now back to it. We now have a house full of internet-hungry, video-conferencing experts.

We’re really thankful for the fantastic spring weather so we can spill into the garden and enjoy the sunshine whilst in ‘lockdown’ in the UK. I’ve always enjoyed walking the dog but we appreciate the excuse of getting out in the local area even more at the moment!

No smart phone, no internet, its a dog’s life.

Pippa, the dog, is a long-term WFH co-worker. She is always excited when I arrive home from a business trip and for the first three weeks of lockdown seemed equally excited every single morning that I was still here, but she’s just about got used to it now.

My wife is doing an amazing job of keeping the fridge stocked, keeping the kids motivated and on track with school work and tolerating me being around all the time. We’re having fun discovering new things (banana and custard in homemade pancakes) and relying on some old family favorites (top recommendations include Monopoly Deal and Bananagrams) to keep us smiling.

Describe your new normal.

My days often begin with an early start — somewhere between 6am and 8am — that overlaps with the end of the working day in Australia. Then, the team in Europe begins their work day, while US comes online around lunchtime and goes until the late hours of the UK day. Sleep. Repeat.

The obligatory selfie in the Home Office

This is normal for me, but the increased time availability without any travel or social commitments increases the intensity. I think many of us are increasingly feeling the intensity of every minute of our schedule available without any downtime for commuting, traveling to meetings or social events with co-workers.

I’m really enjoying the table service with drinks and snacks frequently brought to the desk, but also family mealtimes are more relaxed and the our schedule is less chaotic, too!

Garden…Playground…Badminton Court…Outdoor Office

What do you miss about the office?

I’m missing the buzz of the city of London, and traveling across our offices to spend time with our teams and co-workers.

It’s also more challenging to celebrate together. We’re still delivering great outcomes for clients with successful virtual project start ups, solution go-lives and then also celebrating promotions, birthdays and other events, but it’s requiring us to adjust! We’ve done some amazing things recently, rapidly building an app for the NHS in London, making some significant promotions across the department and wishing expectant mothers well as they leave for maternity, but I have to admit, I miss the in-person component to those celebrations!

Watching or reading anything new?

Church! On Sunday mornings we’re tuning into a live-stream and then ‘meeting’ with the young people’s group we run on a Monday evening with video conferencing, so that’s very different, but fun to do things differently. I’m not a big fan of TV, so don’t naturally gravitate to the box, but I am missing Match of the Day on a Saturday night, given the football season is suspended :-(.

I’d like to challenge Anastacia Race, Appian Alliances & Partners Director, based out of Sydney, to share what her journey has been like at home!

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