23.09

Working from home as your colleagues return to the office

This has not been the year I was expecting. 2020 was supposed to be the start of a new me for a new decade. I wanted to hit some big milestones, to make it to the end of my first year at Six having learned valuable lessons and settled in amongst this wonderfully buzzing office. I wanted to ‘glow up’ and get fitter and healthier and reconnect with old friends. Instead I, like everyone else, ended up trapped at home dealing with a challenge the likes of which we have never seen before – and which we will hopefully never see again.

COVID-19 has confined us to our homes and kept us out of our offices. We learned fast whether those annoying habits displayed by our partners, families or housemates were ones we could live with, or whether we needed to put our feet down about them. For some of us, we learned how good we are with just ourselves for company, other humans present in our lives only from behind a computer screen or when we braved the outdoors for an ‘essentials’ run. 

How many of us actually have a home office that looks like this? I certainly don't. IMAGE: XPS/Unsplash

I’m fortunate in that I like my own company. The peace and quiet helps me focus, and I feel more productive in many ways. As a copywriter, I find there’s nothing as good as solitude for getting lots of work done. 

However, being at home has limited me as much as it’s helped me. I’ve missed out on six months of getting to know my colleagues in a way you just can’t do from behind a computer screen. 

There’s nothing for creativity like sitting in a room together and bouncing ideas, not having to worry about someone’s mic cutting off or not being able to hear the person in the back. 

At the start of what I hope will be a very long career as a copywriter with Six, I do wonder how different I would feel right now had I not missed out on those many weeks of settling in and making friends in the flesh. 

As the situation with COVID-19 changes and we go back and forth from our offices, we’re balancing a complicated situation where some of us are back in and able to talk in (socially distanced) person, while others still watch on from behind our screens. Meetings are trickier than they used to be, with half the participants grouped together in the office and the others solitary at home. 

In my opinion, we’re doing a fantastic job in the face of these hurdles. Our compassion and energy is shining through, with people in the office making a big effort to help those of us at home feel included and weekly company meetings keeping us all in touch. 

One of my favourite things about working from home is definitely the fact that I can go and sit on the sofa when I tune into the company meeting!  

There’s no easy answer to this situation, and many companies are facing exactly the same issues. I think the Six solution is the best answer to an impossible question, and I know how lucky I am to work for an employer whom I trust completely to do the right thing for me and everybody else. 

While we wait to see whether we’re headed back into another full lockdown, my advice to people in the same situation as me is simple: stay in touch and keep moving forwards. This is how I’d go about that:

  • Continue to build your skills and work on your weaknesses. 
  • Try to avoid giving in to the temptation to sit on the sofa with your laptop and not move until you go back to bed. 
  • Exercise, even if it’s just stretching on your sitting room floor. 
  • Reach out to colleagues to find out how their weekends went and what they’re up to at the moment. Now’s the time to be proactive in building and maintaining relationships.

And try to remember the benefits of working from home, even if you miss the office. 

Speaking of which, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got three minutes before my next call – so I’m going to go and put a cheeky load of laundry in!