I am now beginning to get back into the office, which is a bit of a treat.
I like where we are co-located with other businesses, and enjoy the buzz of the space as there's always lots to see and do which helps the day along.
But, despite all personal expectations, I actually really enjoy working from home.
It plays to my natural introversion and appreciation of a quiet space to think and get on with things.
I get that I am fortunate. I have a dedicated room at home set up as an office/studio, but I would also argue I've been far more productive at home than I would have been otherwise.
We have looked at the question of the office and remote working as a business.
Like many other companies, we've taken the view that while office time is incredibly valuable for culture and just getting along with team-mates, we have adopted a ‘work from anywhere’ policy and reissued contracts accordingly.
This obviously means that if any of the team do wish to come to the office they can do so, but they are also able to continue working remotely as they wish. Crucially this is their choice, not a management-led decision.
As a team we have all learned a massive amount over recent months.
We have had to learn to trust each other, and to understand that work patterns differ for each individual.
We've also learned to respect the limitations of various instant messaging systems, and not to encroach on personal or down time.
What we've learned, and what we'll do differently
There were some other key workplace lessons we learned during this period.
One of these was to let team members be their own boss.
This applies in terms of time and work patterns, as well as how people prioritise their activities.
There is a lot of trust required here.
It's entirely different when team members are sitting close by. In a remote setting, respecting the 'away' and 'busy' indicators on email and other communications systems is crucial.
As long as the activity is there, and the work is being done, then all is good.
It may sound a little self-congratulatory, but it does feel we are thriving rather than merely surviving. This seems to be echoed among most people I speak to on the subject.
We have all worked out how to do remote working well. We understand the technology that works for us and, perhaps most importantly, our clients.
Another development is we have binned the 9 to 6.
We no longer define our work life by this time period now we are largely working from home.
We are encouraging the team to be more task-based and as a result, they are getting a lot more done.
Away from the interruptions and distractions of the office, they are now working within their own natural energy cycles.
Yet while more is being done, for some the workdays are actually shorter, particularly with the removal of commuting time.
Others are arranging their days to be more flexible, but with their tasks and objectives in mind.
Personal activities are slotted into the working day in a way they just couldn't be previously. We are convinced that the team are, and will continue to be, happier and healthier because of this.
It's been our experience that remote productivity has powered business productivity. The time we took helping everyone to get comfortable working remotely, physically and intellectually, has paid off.
By exploring and encouraging different working patterns based on personal style and responsibilities, it has meant that individual team members feel more empowered.
They are in command of their working weeks, more willing to make personal decisions affecting the business and feel more valued as a result. Our weekly check-ins show this.
However, the team know our physical place of work is still there, and they know we are more than happy to see them when that suits.
We look forward to the much-missed after work beers, but our team also know they have grown in lockdown too.
They have taken more responsibility and fully contributed to our ongoing progress. We are a much better business for the trust we showed by continuing our work from anywhere policy.
We believe that trust has been repaid handsomely.