On the whole, working remotely has been pretty much BAU for Ian, who is better known as Spadge to his colleagues. Key to our Business Continuity Plan is that working remotely should be exactly the same as working from the office. So all systems are accessible, and VPN ensures that all connections are secure. And our Governance Risk and Compliance framework is there to guide us as to when we need to report an incident or raise a risk.
If anything, there seem to be fewer meetings (to no ostensible detriment so far Ian tells me) so getting hold of individuals has been easier for him. In the office, Ian is often seen walking up and down in the office trying to talk to people in between their meetings. So ease of access is a definite plus for him! And no small advantage either, the office is frequently noisier than his office at home, even with two kids around.
An important aspect of Ian’s job is to deal with our customers’ due diligence. And these unprecedented times have brought a lot of questions from our customers, who have at first felt nervous about the impact of the lockdown on our ability to keep everything going smoothly. He tells me that despite having conducted often very thorough due diligence assessments on us, most customers have still been in touch to ask what we’re doing, how our services to them might be impacted and so on. Ian has been on the ball as always and has answered all these questions immediately, even receiving comments back from customers saying how impressed they were with Altus ability to cope in continuing to provide the services and support they need.
But some things are not quite the same. The nature of Ian’s job means that he gets to talk to a lot of people in the office. And he always exchanges a few words with colleagues, a smile, a bit of banter, catching up on everyday life. While Teams is there to organise meetings and friendly calls, remote working doesn’t provide the same social interaction, and he misses that.
And like many a parent around the world, Ian is also having to juggle family life with work life. Flexible working is coming handy for Ian. He starts his work early so that he can spend more time with his children in the day and uses his breaks and lunchtime to their full potential. But lines are definitely blurred between work and family and the temptation to quickly check his inbox is lurking around the corner.
But Ian has shared some really handy tips with me: pick a room, shut the door. That’s now your office. When the door is open, you’re not at work so take time to relax, exercise and spend time with your family. He also says that there is no point trying to manage your time and your breaks as you would in the office. Don’t try and impress or convince people you’re working hard by always being online, or sending that early morning/late evening e-mail, or replying to an e-mail just to demonstrate that you’re working. And perhaps most important of all: never forget to contact your colleagues from time to time. Just because it’s been a while since you’ve spoken with them. It’s important for you as much as for them…
These are some pretty useful tips I am going to adopt immediately… And I am also going to take the time to recover from calling Spadge Ian for pretty much the first time ever.