Work Your Way is our new blog series in which individuals give their honest answers about how they like to work when working remotely. From how to create and maintain a work culture when working remotely, to how they best like to work remotely, they share their insights and top tips.
Katie-Beth Brookfield, Account Executive at Soldo shares with us her take on WFH and how a virtual murder mystery could be they key to solving remote working company culture. Soldo combines prepaid company cards with a management platform – the brighter way to manage spending.
What is the biggest advantage to the company of working remotely?
Everyone works differently. Traditional office working works for a particular set of people, but it doesn’t give others freedom. Remote work allows employees to create a work-life balance that works for them, based on their needs and priorities, and this can only benefit the company as people have the freedom to do their best work. As someone who has struggled with my mental well-being previously and the chronic pain of endometriosis, remote work has allowed me to manage this and my work in a much healthier way, and I am therefore more productive. I find remote work is a lot more inclusive, people are no longer barred from doing their best work because they don’t or can’t thrive in a 9-5 environment.
Remote-Friendly or Remote-First?
Difficult question! I would say remote-friendly, as long as it really is friendly. I’ve found that some companies may allow remote working but the culture doesn’t, and therefore people don’t feel they can. Since Covid hit and the majority of office-based workers moved to WFH, I definitely think there has been a cultural shift in attitudes towards working from home and so I hope that this continues.
How do you keep remote work visible?
This is important and linked to the above point I made. Many of my friends have found they are monitored so closely and there’s a great deal of suspicion around working from home. It’s a tough one – one of the beauties of remote work is that you are able to be flexible according to your personal working pattern and the rhythm of your life in general, and therefore this isn’t always compatible with being visible in the way we would have in the office. Regularity is key – touching base weekly with managers for example, and making sure you are clear about what you have been doing and providing updates. I also find myself commenting on things in teams channels or on LinkedIn a lot more than I would in ‘normal’ times, as it helps me to remain visible and engaged with people wider than just my immediate colleagues. I think it’s a fine line between keeping your work visible but not tipping into ‘monitoring’ or ‘proving’ that you’re working.
How do you maintain and create a company culture when working remotely?
I don’t have this figured out yet – has anyone?! I’m an introvert and so can quite happily work away at home and not have the conversations or interactions I would whilst making a coffee in the office. One thing that has helped me is being open with colleagues and unafraid to share general chit chat if we’re on a call or in teams. It’s not unprofessional, it keeps us connected in a way we would naturally have in the office. I would say from a top-down level, it’s good to have activities or tangible things that keep us connected to the bigger picture. Some of the best ways we bond as colleagues are during the social events, whether that’s coffee after a conference session or a Christmas party. It’s harder to have these social events remotely, but it’s not impossible to organise activities we can do together even if we’re not in the same place. My housemate did a virtual murder mystery! Without this, it’s easy to get siloed in your particular team and role and forget about all the people and pieces that come together to make your company successful.
Where is your favourite place to work from when working remotely?
At the moment, my room. I’ve never loved hot desking because I like to create my perfect environment and have my things around me. When I first worked from home I was living in a box room and had to work at the kitchen table, where my housemate would regularly make a cup of tea behind me in the middle of calls!! I moved a few months later to another house share, but this time I have a huge room that naturally is split in two. It means I have privacy and my perfect set-up while I work without feeling like I fall out of bed and onto my desk. As my partner and I look for a place of our own, having an office or dedicated room for work is key to enabling us to continue to reap the benefits of working from home, whilst also improving the balance between work and home that you get from physically going to and leaving the office. In an ideal world I would have a great little home office and access to a shared space like WeWork to meet with colleagues and have a change of scenery, but let’s get through Lockdown 3 first… !
A big thank you to Katie-Beth for her honest answers and insights into Soldo. Make sure you check out Soldo.