I swear, if I hear the phrase “the new normal” again, I’m going to scream! It’s inescapable, isn’t it?! As we progress through the launch plan for Tend, it’s become abundantly clear to me that, because we’ve never had to work-from-home, we hadn’t had the opportunity to embrace it. I have to say, it’s been a truly liberating experience – although we do love the vibe and energy that can only come from a shared spaced. Here’s the major benefits I’ve noticed since we’ve gone full-scale on our remote working policy for the team.
No more meeting rooms! Wow, how old-school does a conference room seem now? While we do love a good round-table, there’s something to be said for everyone getting a link, perching up to the call with their cup of coffee/tea and having a super focused conversation.
We’re actually closer than we were in person! It’s been interesting to get an insight into who the team are out of the office, and we absolutely love seeing everyone else’s kids swinging from the rafters in the background of our morning huddle (as well as ours!), or the growing Tend pet family. In the spirit of togetherness, Josh gives us a pep talk on Friday mornings which has meant that we’re approaching the very real challenges of start-up life as a team. A couple people have actually said that the headspace afforded by working from home actually makes the start-up phase seem a bit less crazy!
Okay, life without kids isn’t a walk in the park. I found it interesting observing our team members who don’t have kids, and had never realised that lack of enforced schedule would often mean some of the team didn’t know how to switch off. Of course, you trust people will know how to work effectively in a way that works for them, but I realised that it’s a lot easier said than done, especially when there aren’t little humans to keep things in check. Needless to say, a few of those Friday pep talks were around making sure the team was putting the right steps in place to avoid burning out!
Productivity didn’t dip. At all. As a digital-first business, it made total sense for us to create a positive work from home culture early on. Of course, you need to hire a team you know will respond well to the freedom, making the most of without abusing it. This hasn’t been a problem for us though. With different teams coming together to collaborate and build, we found that the increased availability of people to jump on calls resulted in great results without all the rigmarole of making sure everyone was going to be in the office, etc.
Everyone knows everyone! This might sound a little weird, but if you’re working a fast-paced startup with lots of moving parts and new departments, creating an open and positive culture requires a lot of legwork early on (actually, it doesn’t ever end!) In these early days, we found that people felt a lot more comfortable to be themselves and also realised that we had to focus on building our working relationships as well as getting to know each other, as well as actually getting the work done! They say the eye is the window to the human soul, but I reckon it’s really the laptop camera!
So, those are my early reflections on this “new normal”. We each have our own viewpoint, but so far as I can tell, if working from home is the way of the future, based on what we’ve seen, we’re all in.