Like everywhere, for the last few months things have been a bit different here at Stansons. Since beginning to work from home at the end of March, we’ve seen some great blogs posts with top tips for working from home and have been taking the advice. Over Mental Health Awareness Week (18th-24th May) we were thinking about how it has been and what we have learned. At Stansons people are really important to us, as you can see from two of our core values on our website; people come first and we care. These values apply just as much to our colleagues as our partners and customers so we had a think about what we’ve learned from working at home and how we can implement these positive practises when we’re back at the office.
A huge part of our company is being open. It is one of our core values and so we are big advocates for collaboration. We have created collaboration spaces in our office, and already used collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, to encourage working collaboratively. However, lockdown has pushed us a step further. We have started every day with a group video call talking about the samples, surveys, estimations, as well as what’s is in manufacture, and installation. We also shared what clients have said, either success stories or points to improve on. The call has given each team member a greater insight into each other’s roles and how we can better support each other as a team, towards a shared goal. But further than that, lockdown has allowed our usual meetings and sharing of information to evolve into the work itself, in its entirety, becoming a collaboration through a continual, living conversation. This again shows who Stansons are as a company, we are always looking to evolve and seek improvements to innovate our products and the way we work.
It’s not all about business and our projects though. By getting to know one another better we feel part of a group, a team, or as Vin Diesel would say; a family! This is key for an individuals’ well-being and job satisfaction. If we have a good relationship with those we work with we work better, smarter, and harder because we want to support each other. We’ve also found that the quality and focus of our meetings has improved as the regularity means that we are to the point. In the past, we had weekly meetings to make sure nothing got missed, naturally working together and pooling information, but we plan to go ahead with our first lock-down lesson in mind and have ‘little and often’ collaborations.
You probably looked at the word routine and thought ‘What?! Routine is the exact thing that’s missing at the moment!’ and in a way you are right. But lockdown has allowed our team to bring elements into their routine which were not possible before, and has enhanced motivation, concentration, work-life balance, and their all-round happiness at work. Our routine has altered significantly in the last 3 months, but we’re here to say that this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So, perhaps, our point is a change in routine. Some examples of this are;
breakfast typically contributes 20–22% to total daily energy intake across all age groups.A Study from the International Breakfast Research Initiative Group
I expect you have seen hoards of runners, walkers and cyclists over the past few weeks, particularly when that was one of the only reasons that we were allowed out. Lots of people have taken up new exercise routines throughout this period, ourselves included! Even only 10 minutes of exercise can leave us awake, energised, and ready for the day of work ahead. It’s another practise that is great for both physical and mental health.
Another variation of this is getting fresh air. A simple walk around the block in your lunch break can make a world of difference to your afternoon performance. It makes you get away from the work space – which has now taken over your home – and come back ready for the afternoon. Another great idea is to ‘walk to work’. I have a friend who has been doing this throughout lockdown and has said that it is a brilliant way of adjusting your mindset from home to work, walking for the 30 mins that it would usually take her to commute. Little bursts of fresh air and energy do wonders for our motivation and mindset, making sure that we can separate home from work and also getting a break when needed.
We recommend leaving your desk every 30 minutes, even if only briefly.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
This is something that we had already touched upon at the office, even having a group walk at lunchtime, and we will be encouraging it again once we are back in the office.
Contrary to popular belief, working from home is not necessarily more agile than the office. Most of the time, you are confined to the dining room table, or a desk in a bedroom/home office, without the agility of different spaces at the office. This was a big concern of ours, and so we wanted to encourage our colleagues to make the most of the space they have at home, so as to not lose this agility that we know works.
As a company, Stansons is big on agility. It is something that we had already implemented through activity-based working, which allows our team to work in different spaces depending on the task they are working on/people they are meeting with. We have found that our team are more engaged in delivering our service because their environment is supporting the task. It has made us more resilient as a company, particularly at a time such as this, and allows individuals the space to be self-directed. This is a key value for us, as we want to empower our team to make decisions to carry tasks to completion without needing to be micro-managed.
This is dependent on the task you are currently undertaking; making phone calls? Get up and walk around! Checking emails? Sit in the garden (weather permitting)! Working on something creative? Work from a hammock-chair, like one of us has found to be a quiet space! We have found this to be a great way of mixing it up and not feeling like your home has been taken over by work, because you’re in a new space all the time. It means that you don’t miss out on the glorious sunshine we’ve been having! We know that the office/desk set up can be important for engaging in our work, and not getting distracted. But, we are arguing that switching it up can keep our minds from wandering and can help us focus on our different tasks, and that’s why we think it is a great lesson to take back to the office with us. Maybe create a space in your office that isn’t just a clump of desks, somewhere for people to work creatively? If you are fortunate enough to have an outside space then utilise it! Get together as a team and discuss how you can find ways that work for you.
At Stansons we support designers and fit-out contractors by delivering blinds and curtains in exceptional spaces, ahead of schedule. We focus on wellbeing in the workplace and are thought-leaders in how natural daylight impacts human behaviours. Intelligently specifying blinds and curtains are a key part of managing and harnessing this vital natural resource. We strive to be supportive of our team, providing the stimulus to empower them to be self-directed and confident in their abilities.
We hope that you are keeping well and safe, and are using this time to learn what works for you and your company. Why not let us know if you will be using any of our lessons when you return to work, or if you have some of your own?
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