Over a year ago someone said to me, “this is not working from home, this is living with work”. There is no novelty to the blended existence that we all now have between our families/homes/pets/postmen and our working environment. We have all seen and enjoyed the benefits but there are no boundaries – I’ve even found myself missing the commute, the finishing up of emails, calls and messages on my way home so that when I arrive at my front door, I am physically and mentally somewhere else.
What has surprised me in all of this is the productivity and just what we’ve achieved at Conker over the past year. We were lucky enough to take on a CEO brief, the day we shut the office, just before the first lockdown. Having been in the office together all day every day, overnight, with everyone else, we switched to a virtual process and it was seamless. Candidates didn’t have to scurry out for interviews, people were more available, there was never the worry that certain people were going to bump into each other outside our offices. Candidates were still put through a robust process, hired and onboarded virtually. We not only adapted, we found better ways of working.
I have always loved my job and our industry, but I realise how many elements that make it the wonderful place it is, I took for granted. But also how much time they can take up – the travel to the face-to-face meeting (always scheduled for an hour) where people were sometimes late?! If anyone is more than 2 minutes late joining a zoom call there are prolific apologies because where exactly were you other than sat figuratively and literally in your little box, ‘you’re on mute’ the sonic logo of 2020?!
We are very lucky in that we can do our work virtually, arguably we can also do it quicker, but I do miss getting energy from people I’m not related to. I find it particularly difficult to do anything that requires more creativity or strategic thinking which I would do best or better sat next to my business partner, colleagues, clients and candidates. Our work is about people and some of the instinct that has served me so well can get lost on zoom. The alchemy when you ultimately connect the right candidate with the client is also harder to celebrate.
I’ve had a super structured and incredibly productive day today so far, I’ve had two client meetings, various calls with people in my network, three interviews and written this. However I’ve only done about 200 steps so far, I’m cold from sitting still for so long, its 2.30 and I haven’t eaten. Get me back to Soho for a falafel wrap if nothing else. That and a good old catch up about TV so that I actually have a clue what is going on in Line of Duty. Mother of God!