Like many other businesses, when Covid-19 reached Ireland, we at Tap decided to set up staff to work from home. Having never worked from home before, we realised this was something that would require new systems and technologies to make work.
The first few weeks were challenging. Numerous IT issues, server connections failing, slow WiFi speeds and printers not cooperating had us all thinking, is it possible to be productive from outside the office? Note, those technical issues don’t even touch on setting up a suitable workspace or dealing with distractions from children and pets! However, as the weeks went by, we noticed ourselves adapting to the situation and learning that working from home is possible. It got us thinking about the workplace, our old routines and how Covid-19 is forcing us to think and act in new ways.
We have learnt that remote working presents challenges in how we communicate. At the beginning video calls took longer, we found ourselves talking over each other and we rarely spoke about non-work-related topics. As a result, the situation has forced us to innovate and improve. We’re now a couple of weeks into our new routine and our calls are concise, workspaces are set up and processes streamlined. Hopefully, when we return to the office, remote working will no longer be unusual, and the stigma of disappearing from your desk equating to being unproductive will be gone.
For many people, the transition back into the workplace will be hard. Honestly, I will miss the extra hour in bed, no commute and spending more time with my family. However, it will be great to get back into a routine and to foster face to face relationships with clients and colleagues. Being forced to work from home is challenging, but it is also highlighting the many benefits of flexible working. Fingers crossed it will lead to more companies having a healthier relationship with remote or flexible working, for the overall benefit of businesses and individuals.