The world of work was turned upside down when the COVID crisis became a worldwide pandemic. Overnight, corporate world was forced to move to a work from home (WFH) environment and zoom entered the daily vernacular.
For our team, the general consensus is WFH has been a big benefit – the loss of the daily commute, the flexibility, the lack of distractions in an open office – all contribute to a better working day. The biggest loss is physical interaction – online just doesn’t replicate those personal relationships. Slack gets a better shout out than Zoom for its ability to replicate casual interactions.
The future is still uncertain. Restrictions are still particularly severe in the UK so the return to the office is as yet undetermined. Stephen Robertson, CEO shared his thoughts on WFH:
“On Zoom, I watch body language more closely these days, to see who is distracted and needs support, who’s engaged and would benefit from more encouragement. I’m pleased at how we have adapted and how we’ve used technology and closer collaboration to become more effective. I honestly don’t think we’ve seen standards or quality of work drop at all during COVID and I’m really proud of my team”.
From the Metis Partners team we have captured some insights in how they have coped so far with the new work style.
David Fitzpatrick, Analyst
“Joining Metis in 2020, it’s a weird thought that you’ve been with Metis for almost a year, and still haven’t met the majority of your colleagues face-to-face.
I think the incorporation of regular formal, and perhaps more importantly, informal meetings among staff has been really effective in helping me feel like part of the team. This gives us the opportunity to catch up and relate to one and other on as personal a level as is possible during these times, providing me comfort that I can reach out and have a chat with each of my colleagues easily and without stress.
I would say the main challenge for me has been the struggle to ask the odd question/pick up bits of insight that would be much more accessible if I was in the office. Slack has helped a lot, but during my training period I found myself skipping through past training videos to find ways of doing stuff that would have taken a much shorter period of time for someone to just walk me through.”
“I think our first informal meeting is what I look forward to the most- I will be extremely disappointed if this doesn’t occur on a sunny beach in San Diego!”
“The main benefit is I can get up later!”
“I live in a busy house with my parents and now my two older brothers, so getting some alone time would be a blessing!”
Inga Brydson, Director of Marketing
“Joining a new team during covid has certainly been the most curious experience. How do you ‘bond’ with someone when you’ve only ever seen them from the waist up? Reading body language over zoom can be challenging, all those subtle nuances of personal cues, ticks, behaviors are lost across a little screen. Metis Partners have worked hard to build community and separating out work focused team calls with social team calls has been a nice idea.”
“I’m a social bunny so I cannot wait for the day we can be together as a team.”
Iain Baird, Head of Finance and Operations
“I think the team calls have been great. The fact we have tried to make the Thursday team call not about work has helped. It would be good to just see everyone especially the ‘new starts'”
Ruby Chan, Head of Professional Services
“We build and nurture team relationships using Slack more than Zoom, team members are actively corresponding using Slack which is more similar to “real-time” collaboration. I find video calls uncomfortable. Working from home has drastically increased my productivity. There are days when I think I wouldn’t be able to get done what I did at home if I was in the office.”
“My cats are like my therapy animals and they help calm me down on stressful work days.”
“WFH allows better work-life balance but provides Metis more flexibility as well (for example us accommodating late US calls or just switching on randomly to send urgent emails).”
“I am the ultimate introvert. I thrive in peace and quiet so the home working environment suits me better than a noisy open plan office.”
Emily Muir, Senior Manager
“I have really enjoyed working from home, juggling a toddler and two dogs has been made much easier by cutting out a two hour commute out of my working day. I invested a lot in my work space at the outset of the pandemic (managing to get additional screens before they were in high demand) and this has provided me a really professional setup, which I am fortunate to have in a dedicated office room.”
Luisa Robertson, Head of IP Valuation
“Multitasking as a mum is so much easier in WAH environment. I feel more in control – I used to be crazy after work at the office and often doing a whole lot of stuff late at night. The quiet time for report writing is brilliant with no distractions and higher productivity. However, it has been harder to collaborate with team members on projects via share screen.”
“Excel does not lend itself to remote working.”
“It has been harder to train new staff – they are not learning by listening to our conversations and calls and our job is really focused on ‘on the job’ learning. You just can’t achieve the soft-side of office environment that we spent 18 years building and trying to foster– coaching, development, emotional, stress management, team collab.”
Andrew Smith, Senior Analyst
“I find it easier to concentrate at home and this has helped me progress in my role – I even landed a promotion. I liked living alone (for the 8 months prior to covid) but it is challenging now that the level of human interaction has drastically dropped.”
David Hood, Junior Analyst
“Our last official day in the office was Friday 13th March 2020 and a group of us went out for one last hurrah that night. I doubt many of us would’ve thought it would be over a year before seeing each other again.
Despite missing the camaraderie that comes with working in the office, I certainly don’t miss having to leave the house at 7:30AM to get into the office for 9AM.”
“I’ve saved a hell of a lot of money by not travelling on the overpriced and unreliable train services to and from Glasgow.”
“I’m able to get my dinner at a reasonable time each night, and able to spend more time doing uni work after work which is a bonus.
When back together I’m looking forward to seeing all of the team again, including meeting the newcomers for the first time in person. I’m also looking forward to seeing the new office that we allegedly moved into 6 months ago.”
Jordan Sherlock, Analyst
“Team relationships have been built using methods which may not have been explored in a physical setting. Things such as quizzes and team calls have shown people that while there is an element of physicality in nurturing relationships, it’s not the be all and end all of building relationships.”
“WFH =Less travel, more time to yourself, less stress dealing with people and crowds.”
Samantha Main, Marketing Executive
“I think like many people, my feelings towards my dining room desk waver day to day. Today, I love it. For me, the best way to cope with the pandemic, impending doom and world ending is to see the small wins of each day. Maybe I don’t have the same coffee room chats with the team, or birthday cake every few weeks when someone turns a year older. But, I do have slow cooked stew on the stove at 2pm on a Thursday; early starts and late finishes to fit in longer lunchtime walks with friends; the *occasional* work with a face mask on afternoons; and my flatmate working across from me, an easy target to pester on coffee breaks.”
“Post-pandemic, I don’t think ever again I will be able to get out of the shower at 8:59 and start work at 9.”
“Yes, working from home can be temperamental, not unlike my wifi on Zoom calls, but it has created a seamless harmony between my work and personal life, something I feel so lucky to have experienced.”