Finding our feet
Humans are creatures of habit. Routine is, for most of us, a sort of primordial comfort blanket, creating structure in uncertainty and simplifying the chaotic world around us.
The morning commute that helps to shift your mind away from home and towards work…the sitting down at your desk that signals it’s time to get cracking…and the coffee in your favourite work mug that kicks you into gear…it all helps.
And, like Joni Mitchell sort of said, you don’t realise how much you value it until it’s gone. But if this week’s shown anything, it’s that we at Seccl are all pretty good at embracing change.
In reality, for most of us that’s typically meant creating new routines – or recreating the old ones as best we can in the new setting. And it starts with the work set-up. Here’s what the Seccl office looks like these days:
There’s certainly one new daily chore that’s entered the mix, however: the morning race to the best workspace. “Consider yourselves lucky to have a desk”, our CFO Jack told the team. “Sarah pulled rank…”
And it’s not just Jack who has little choice of where to work. According to James, our head of delivery, “I either work from the kitchen table where I have a lot more room – or my daughter’s bedroom if the children are home. Which they will be for a while, now!”
Offices naturally compartmentalise, helping us to prevent the fatigue and burnout that can come with blurring work, family and social lives. So how can you mirror that same effect when working from home?
“My partner and I are coping by going for walks around Victoria Park at lunchtime”, explains Sam, our front-end engineer. “We then go for a long walk after work, so we can simulate ‘coming back to the house’, like we would usually do after work. It helps the house not feel like an office in the evening.”
Making the most of being at home
But while working from home definitely brings challenges, there are benefits, too.
Some are obvious: the benefit of not having to commute, for example. Or the saving potential of not being allowed to drink in bars, in the case of our young product manager, James…
Bur some are slightly less conventional. “As I’m working from home, I get to print more stuff out on my 3D printer”, said Rhymes, our server-side lead.
“It needs monitoring so it doesn’t mess up, so I can usually only use it during evenings and weekends. Today, I printed a slingshot for Joey’s birthday on Saturday.” Looks like it turned out well.
Then there’s the new co-workers that inevitably come with the new remote working arrangement. We’re talking, of course, about our stress-relieving animal buddies who make the odd appearance in team-wide conference calls (sometimes invited, sometimes less so).
Meet our latest recruits, Niko, Lazy, Dink and Vinnie…
There’s no isolation in team
Speaking of new recruits…there are obviously certain things that remote working makes more difficult – and onboarding new starters is one of them.
Joining a new company can be tough at the best of times. Meeting new people, learning new names, getting to grips with new subject matter – it’s a social challenge for even the most outgoing. Add another layer of video conferencing weirdness and it only gets harder.
But we were determined to welcome our two joiners, Joe and Magdalena, as ‘normally’ as we could. So we thought we’d each film a video to introduce ourselves. The results were amazing.
Our co-head, Dave, smashed it out the park with a fantastic introduction to Seccl, our purpose, and our working principles. (And topped it off with a great Joy Division soundtrack)…
Our server-side lead, Rhymes, summed up his role and his personality perfectly in just 11 seconds. (Follow us on instagram to check it out)
And others – Dan, Stu and Sam in particular – kept us amused with a few rough outtakes.
It’s definitely a tradition we’re going to keep up when this is all over. Because if there’s one thing that this week’s made clear, it’s that being physically distant doesn’t have to mean socially isolated.
Thanks to our daily 2pm remote coffees, our weekly virtual quiz, and our first slack beer sesh on a Friday evening, we feel as connected as we ever have. Long may it continue.
Keep on carrying on
All of us realise that we’re supremely fortunate to be able to work in the current climate. One of the blessings of our fully cloud-based set-up is that we can all do our jobs from home, without any negative impact on the extent or quality of our output. Many aren’t this lucky.
So it’s a good reminder that we shouldn’t grumble. Instead of focusing on the barriers that this will place on our working life, we’re all trying really hard to think of creative new ways to carry on with business as usual in these very unusual times.
And, so far, we’re doing well. Was our first WFH week the Week From Hell? Hell no. Week Full of Heroes more like.