NB Communication

Working from home – our experience so far

April 20, 2020

As the coronavirus lockdown continues, those of us working from home will hopefully have now settled into something of a daily routine. We may have swapped face-to-face meetings and tea breaks for online catch-ups and attempts at home schooling, but we're making it work. Here, the NB team tell us what they're doing to adapt to the new normal...

David Nicol, Managing Director

I think we are generally well set at NB to work from anywhere, given the technologies we have in place and our experience working with suppliers and clients from all around the world over many years. We are miles ahead of many organisations with our flexibility in this respect, but, what we're experiencing now is a bit different.

None of us have lived through a global health pandemic and enforced working from home, so we need to factor in the impact of this. For example, some of us are juggling work with home schooling and childcare. Others are looking after family members, neighbours and people in their communities. And, of course, coronavirus and the reality of social distancing brings with it new anxieties and stresses, so we need to think about managing our team's mental wellbeing and making sure they feel supported as individuals. It's all manageable though and I think as a team we're pulling together well and servicing our clients to the best of our ability.

As mentioned, I've not had to make many changes to my day-to-day work life, but a few things I've been doing to keep myself going while working from home are:

  • Listening to podcasts while trying to get to sleep. This helps me to stop thinking about work and other stuff, especially if I've been working late and my brain is still busy.
  • Trying to make some occasional progress on house and garden jobs – a simple thing like chopping up a dead tree that had collapsed in our garden over the winter felt like a good achievement.
  • Not watching too much national news and reading as little of it as possible online.

David's working from home view in Shetland

Alex Fenton, Account Executive

We've always been used to working remotely from our clients, so we're very well set up on this front. It's slightly different being remote from the rest of our team but Microsoft Teams has proved very useful for chats, video calls and group messaging, which we are all doing regularly to keep in touch.

My son five-year-old son Archie and I are doing Joe Wicks' daily workout to get some indoor exercise. After that, I shower and get dressed so that I feel energised and ready for the rest of the day, rather than feeling sluggish in pyjamas. We're also doing plenty of baking, including making our own bread and the Orkney delicacy which is Fatty Cutties.

In terms of juggling work and home schooling, the best approach I've found is to start work much earlier, around 7am. This gives me more space to take regular breaks throughout the day, and for my wife and I to better juggle occupying the little ones.

Alex's home-baked Fatty Cutties

Kylie Wood, Project Manager

Most of the tools we use to manage projects are online, like Basecamp, so I've not had to make any adjustments to my day-to-day role. I am, however, used to working from the office rather than at home so I've been incorporating a few new things into my day, including:

  • Keeping my brain focused by doing short 10-minute yoga/stretching 'sessions', 2-4 times a day. I've really found this beneficial for my productivity and head space. It helps to avoid the endless distractions that you have at home too.
  • Calls with the team. I usually have a daily call with at least one or two of the team. We catch up over a coffee, then do client work. It's definitely a huge boost having the team to speak to. Microsoft Teams has been great.
  • A good walk a day, when the sun is shining or even in the blustery wind. Just getting out the house once a day is so relaxing and needed. Fresh air!
  • I don't like headphones in my ears, so having my own office has meant that I've been able to enjoy listening to music and podcasts.

Kylie's working from home view in Shetland

Chris Thomson, Web Development & Project Management Officer

I've adapted well to working from home and generally not feeling isolated in any way. Not being able to ask colleagues questions at a moment's notice is the main downside, as problems generally get solved quicker in person, but the comms in Microsoft Teams are proving very useful. I guess the main difference is having my email and other comms open 24/7 so I'm much more inclined to check them in the evenings, so the border between work time and non-work time is a little more blurry.

Aside from work, I'm walking when possible, petting my cats and keeping busy when motivation allows. I also feel a lot less time-pressure in general for day-to-day activities, like cooking, and I think this is healthy in itself. I'm also trying a daily yoga meditation over Zoom, which I'm enjoying.

Working from home view from Chris's garden

How are you finding working from home? Share your experiences and pictures on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need any assistance or advice on managing your business's home working set-up better, then do get in touch. We'd be happy to help!

April 20, 2020

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