Opinion

Working from home during COVID-19? Yes, it can be done

How we've adapted to the new normal

As coronavirus changes every aspect of our lives, businesses have had to adapt to the new reality. Some fortunate companies, such as Caution Your Blast, have been able to carry on their business from home. For those used to the 9-5 life, it has been a period of adaptation. While some of those changes are welcome – I’m yet to speak to anyone who is missing their early morning commute across town – it has largely meant businesses figuring out new working practices through trial and error. What is a realistic level of productivity? How does your team communicate? And can workers really be trusted to work conscientiously from home?

The stereotype of the working from home freelancer is that they spend their days on the couch in their pyjamas watching reruns of Come Dine With Me, occasionally checking their emails. As a contractor who has regularly worked from home, I’ll admit being able to enjoy home comforts is a perk (and that includes watching Come Dine With Me, I won’t hear a bad word against it). But the reality is reliable freelancers work just as hard as office workers. If you take pride in what you do and have a good work ethic, motivation never drops. And as companies find that working from home doesn’t automatically mean you’re slacking, attitudes are starting to change.

From Caution Your Blast’s perspective, the transition from the office to home working has been very successful, but not without issues. Like any well-functioning office, we miss how the personable meetings where ideas can spark. We also miss the office camaraderie and benefits – the coffee breaks, the impromptu conversations, the chicken wrap for lunch from your favourite vendor (extra chilli sauce, please).

And there are technological pitfalls you may well now be familiar with: the occasional dodgy internet connection, the slightly stilted video meeting with people you’ve never met, somebody trying to talk while their microphone is on mute. And let’s not get started on the awkward goodbyes at the end of a video call (do I really pull that face all the time?)

But as a company, CYB have found a productive way of working. We have team meetings every morning to set the day’s agenda, and regular catch ups to check in on progress. The company Slack channel has become even more invaluable as a means of constant communication. Our directors have recognised that our home lives have different rhythms, and allow for our personal circumstances. There’s a clear divide between work time and down time and no pressure to be available 24/7.

The atmosphere is conducive to good work and I’ve felt part of the team, even at a distance. And the work we’ve done, including some vital COVID-19 related digital projects, has not suffered at all. In fact, excellent standards are still being met.  

Will increased working from home become the new normal in the post-COVID world? Who knows. But what this period has proved is that until it’s safe to return to the office, targets can still be met with a home-based workforce.

Now pass the remote, Come Dine With Me is just starting…