Following on from my recent article in Prolific North here, I thought I’d share some bits via our blog too…
Working from home.
I mostly work from a little desk I brought back from our office, which is in my open-plan living room. I also brought my office chair back, so I’m sat ‘properly’ – being tall I have a tendency to get a bad back. I miss my second monitor and the full edit suite, but it’s doing the job for now. I move to my sofa for the many, many, many Zoom meetings I have for better light and a cleaner background.
We got ourselves totally ‘Covid- compliant’ with our Cracking Covid protocol, so as soon as the first lockdown was lifted we were good to go and we haven’t looked back since.
You can see more about Cracking Covid here
I’ve gone a bit bird-mad and set up bird feeders at my window to encourage them to hang out there. It gives me something interesting to look at. I’m into wildlife filmmaking and photography so have been getting my camera out and shooting just from my desk – I’ve seen all sorts, from Bullfinches to Woodpeckers here in West Didsbury.
The things that have helped me.
I’ve been part of so many helpful groups (shout out to our accountants, Paul Barnes at My Accountancy Place, for a brilliant one!) with people in a similar boat or business coaching groups. I feel that people have become more personable during the pandemic, as it’s brought us together and everyone seems to share more either about their situation or their business.
Other than that, it’s been quite cool seeing what’s possible from home – the early part saw me delivering TV content from home for Cotton Traders’ sponsored idents on Downton Abbey. It was cracking watching them and thinking what we’d achieved.
Things I’m missing.
I would say out of everything it’s the crew I miss the most.
Having the crew around and feeling part of a team is something I thrive on, so it’s been tricky to navigate such a demanding and difficult time when feeling so isolated, despite Zoom, Whatsapp, etc. It’s just not the same.
I also love Ancoats where our office is. We moved there over five years ago and the developments we’ve seen on our doorstep have been unbelievable, so it’s annoying it’s been taken away from us.
I think, and hope, that the nine-to-five is a thing of the past, as I’ve always thought it was archaic and isn’t something I’ve ever instilled at Standby, but it just kind of happened naturally.
I honestly can’t see us ever going back to the old way of working from the office all the time. We’ll definitely keep it, but I’ve come to realise that previously I started my day with a feeling of hurry and stress – always rushing to the gym or the office and battling through traffic to get there.
I think workplaces will still be required, as a place to galvanise and work creatively with teams and clients. The whole concept will be far more flexible to suit people’s personal needs and requirements, rather than the other way around.
I’d love to think that we won’t go back to old habits of working like bots, where work is the number-one priority in life. A return to business as usual shouldn’t be a return to the past.
To give one example, there’s been a 65% reduction in road traffic since the world stopped in March, which is great news for the climate crisis. It’s given us an opportunity to pause and re-establish what’s important, with more people enjoying being outdoors. I’ve decided to build this greater appreciation into our business model, donating £10 from every production to The Wildlife Trusts Manchester, Lancashire and North Merseyside.
It would be very sad if we didn’t collectively take this opportunity to change bad habits and come back better, whether that’s as a greater sense of community, helping the environment, or being healthier.
I’ve seen so many people get fit during the pandemic. Even Peter, the FD at Standby, who’s 70 years old, decided that if he got fit, he’d have a better chance fighting COVID-19 should he get it. So he started running and now he’s done his first 10km in just over an hour – not bad for an old guy (he won’t thank me for saying that)!