Something different today; who doesn’t love an inspiring story at Christmas? A year ago, two of our clients Lee and Theresa Durrant, moved their life and Salesforce recruiting business to the Lake District from Kent.
They arrived to pick up the keys of their new home 72 hours before the country went into lockdown again! We have been working with them for many years, and we would often get together for a marketing planning meeting when they were up here on a walking holiday.
The conversation at night in the bar over a few glasses of wine would turn to how we ran our business from here, so why couldn’t they?
In this podcast, they share their journey, the ups and the downs, how they manage their current team remotely and their plans for scaling. [As always this is a direct transcription so please excuse any strange typing errors.]
Sharon: Lee, Theresa, welcome back to the Superfast Recruitment podcast and thank you for taking some time today. Can you believe it’s almost two years since we were in a similar situation, having a conversation like this, and who would have known what was about to happen?
Theresa: We were put into a lockdown and came out the other side, and the world has changed. So much is different.
Sharon: It is. Also, what’s different as well, literally in the last 12 months is, where Resource on Demand is now based, where you are living. It’s been an incredible year for the business.
What made you do some of the things you’ve done with the business and for yourself in terms of your own lifestyle and how’s it working. Are you ready to share some of your journey with us, then?
Lee: It’s going to be one of those years, when we’re a bit older and we look back over a glass of wine, we’ll probably think, “How did that happen?”. A lot has happened in the two years since we last did one of these, but certainly, the last year has seen a lot of things forced on us that we’ve twisted into a positive. But it’s been a whirlwind, hasn’t it, in the last 12 months?
Theresa: Yes. We’re the kind of people anyway that always try to see opportunity in whatever situation is thrown at you. No one would have anticipated something like COVID coming along, but it has made us change our life completely. It’s changed the way we now run our business, which I’m sure we’re going to come to in a second.
It’s changed our output and philosophy around life because watching people being devastated across the country and losing loved ones makes you think about your values again. Life is so short, you need to grab it with both hands, and you need to make the most of it. Sometimes, being workaholic kind of people, you actually start to realise that there are loved ones out there who are dying, and families have been devastated through COVID. There needs to be more to life than work.
It’s made us think about it a lot differently. The fact that we’ve now gone fully remote means that we’ve been able to realise a dream that we thought was for retirement, which was one day, we’d love to live in the Lake District. We can live that life now. It’s not impacting the business in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it’s had only positive effects on the business: massive move, massive changes.
Was there a particular catalyst that made you make that decision to make it happen now rather than wait for retirement? Was there something that was a real catalyst that you can both think about?
Theresa: I think we can pinpoint when the penny dropped for us. Obviously, we were forced into a situation; it was a case of you work remotely, or you don’t work at all, that was forced upon everybody. We were in a way very fortunate that when we set up the business back in 2007, we actually embraced cloud technology. For us to be able to move out of an office at a day’s notice and work without any impact on the business was very fortunate for us.
I think as we started to have conversations with employees, and there was one particular person, Paul, we were saying to him, “Just imagine you can work from anywhere.” He’s got this wonderful little place that he goes to with his wife, and they go and escape there for the weekend; we kept saying, “Well, you can go there and work from there if you want.”
Lee: He was talking about commuting there one day to the office we used to have, and it’s like, “Oh, it’s a nightmare.” This came along, and we were saying to him, “You can move to the moon if you want.” So when we heard ourselves say to other people, we thought, “Hang on a minute, we can go as well.”
Theresa: We do encourage it. One of our ladies recently wanted to go away and see her family in Wales. Of course, because of lockdown, she wanted to go for a period of time. She just decided, “I’m going to go and work there for the week.” There are so many benefits of people being able to go off on holiday but to take extended leave with family and still be productive and work. For us, that was when it hit home, that we could start to live that life that we wanted to have now.
Who knows what is around the corner? We wanted to enjoy the Lakes while we were still young enough to go off and explore. It’s an amazing opportunity. I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been.
When you started having some of those conversations and thought of the move, how did your team initially adapt to remote working?
Theresa: I think first of all it was a novelty. I think it was a novelty for a lot of people at first that they could work from home and just log on. Again, we had the systems in place anyway, so people could just log on straightaway the next morning, but I think it was a novelty at first. Then I think the realisation cut in because people had been at home; they were starting to probably get a bit jaded with the fact that they couldn’t go out and see people.
Then I think after a period of time, people started to realise the benefits they were getting off the back of it. One of our guys had a lockdown baby, and he started to realise, “Actually, I’m there at bath times; I can go off and play with my little son during the day.” He was taking part in changing nappies and stuff like that. He would never have been able to have that in an office.
As people started to have their own experiences, like one of our ladies has run a half marathon, she would never have thought to do that, but her commuting time was spent on going out running and fitness and health. I think people have started to realise, “Actually, we could have this all the time.” In a way, it was a very organic process.
Lee: Our situation was quite unique in that we were in a situation with our lease where we could get out with one day’s notice. I understand that there’ll be some companies that were tied in three or five years or even longer, and those companies may have felt that they had to go back. I think that situation made us think, “Okay, maybe”.
There must have been a time, and I’m trying to remember when it was, where we had that aha moment of, “Let’s never go back to being in an office every single day, and while we’re at it, let’s move to the Lake District.” If I remember correctly, I think we were slightly more nervous to tell our employees about the move to the Lake District than we were our friends and family. It probably meant more for them. Obviously, we see our friends and family, but probably meant more for them in terms, for them, “That means we’re not going to get an office.”
Lee: I think mentally, we went through a process of maybe we’ll do that thing where we’ll get some shell of an office and pop back every now and then. As time went on, I don’t think it’s even on the table anymore. We meet up every now and then, but the rest of the time, we just crack on.
Thinking about clients and candidates, how have they responded to this new, fully remote Resource on Demand team and way of working?
Lee: I’ve never asked any of them, so I don’t know for sure, but I don’t see that it would make any difference because we weren’t the sort of recruitment company that met candidates or even clients that often. To them, we’ve always been phone, Zoom, occasional meeting in London, but that’s about it. It’s not like we had an office where people came and saw us. The office is just for the recruiters who are on the phone, and they can now do that anyway.
Theresa: The thing about recruitment is when you’ve been in it as long as we have, after a while, some of those candidates, and also clients, become close friends. We’ve had some positive messages from people via LinkedIn who, when we started to put out on social media that we’ve relocated, just send these amazing messages saying, “Good luck,” and, “We wish you all the best,” and, “This is an amazing journey for you. Just go out and enjoy your life.”
It has just been supportive. We have had some nice messages from people and quite a lot of people saying, “I wish I could do what you’ve done.” People are saying, “If only I could go and move to the Lakes,” or, “I’ve always wanted to live in Wales,” and places like that. It’s people saying, “I would like to be able to go and do what you’ve done.”
Theresa: It’s inspiring for people to see, “Well, actually it is possible. It can be done”. I sometimes think while it gets people thinking everybody has different sets of circumstances, but it also gets people thinking about, “If I have done it like Lee and Theresa, what would have to change?” Just the fact that they start thinking about that begins to move people in a direction towards it as well.
Lee: The clients and candidates may not have been aware that the people that work for ROD now are more willing to ring them out of hours than they would have been in an office. If you’re in an office, it’s 9:00 to 5:30. The candidate or client said, “Can you ring me at 6:00?” There’s no specific example here, but I would imagine some recruiters will think, “No, I want to go home now.”
Whereas we have the flexible working now and they’re more than happy to take a call or make a call at eight o’clock in the morning or 6:30 at night, even later than that. From a client’s point of view, maybe we’re a bit more accessible than we used to be.
Theresa: I think when you work in an office environment, and it’s very much 9:00 to 6:00 o’clock or whatever it is, it’s almost like you fit your personal life in and around work. Whereas this way, it’s almost like work fits in and around your personal life. We realised very early on because it impacts us as well that when you’re asking people to work from home, there are other people in their household they’re interacting with. It’s impossible to hold down a 9:00 to 6:00 job when you’ve got other people coming and going.
We very much realised that if we’re asking people to work from their own homes, we’ve got to be adaptable and make sure that we can offer them the environment that fits in with their hours. That has meant people popping off to watch the little kiddie at a school play or something like that or popping off to the gym, or even putting washing on. It means the weekend is much better quality as well because they do not have to focus on those sorts of stuff.
Lee: That might come around because we moved up to the Lake District, and someone said to us, it might have even been you, “When the weather’s nice, we’ve got to take advantage and get out there.” We’re sitting here looking out the window, thinking, “Oh, it’s quite sunny today; we should be out there.” That train of thought led us to think, “We should do flexitime because if we want to go out and have a two-hour lunch and it’s nice, we should offer that to everybody else.” As long as you make it up later on or whatever.
What did you have to put in place to support the team’s transition to remote and now to flexitime?
Theresa: I think it’s important to say that I don’t think we’ve got it perfect yet and probably it may never be perfect, but I think that the small cons are far outweighed by the pros, of the benefits that people get for their health, from work-life balance, just for being more present with their families. The things that we have had to put in place, things like Zoom calls, is more around the logistics of getting the team together, making sure that we can still be sociable. We can still knowledge share and swap ideas, and collaborate.
Little things like having a WhatsApp group for everybody, so it’s a quick point of communication during the day and more regular Zoom meetings. We still make sure that we do monthly team individual review meetings, ensuring that we’ve got more training online for people coming into the business.
From perhaps a hiring point of view, I also think that we’ve had to change our whole recruitment process. We think about that differently, how we market ourselves towards potential employees. There have been some subtle shifts, but I think on the day-to-day, because of the systems that we use and the fact that we’ve got all of the information there, it’s very collaborative, we’ve got tools in place that enable collaboration, that I’d say, hasn’t changed.
Some really good things that have come off the back of it are the time we spend with people is a bit more focused because it’s booked in the diary. We have to; otherwise, when do people know when to join the Zoom calls? Suddenly it’s not conversations taking place in a corridor; it’s a proper, “Let’s sit, let’s work through these changes.”
Lee: You give them more of your attention. In the office people walk in when you’re in your office, they walk in, and they want to ask you a quick question. I was never very good at saying no. You’re half doing what you’re doing and half-listening to them. These morning meetings we have at nine o’clock, they’re much, much better than what we used to do when we walked into an office at nine o’clock, “Morning,” and shuffle off to your office, and off you go.
Whereas now, I think it’s much more pointed a much more, “What’s the plan for the day? Do you need any help with anything?” I don’t think we ever really did that on a day-to-day basis in the office. We had one big meeting a week, but we now have one big meeting every morning.
Theresa: You still need to have some element of chit-chat because that’s what brings a team together. We’re still getting used to the fact that you have to instigate that kind of conversation, whereas before, they were just done a bit more naturally.
Theresa: Having to adapt that way but again, it makes you think about it. The Thursday afternoon chats; usually, we talk about rubbish.
Theresa: We work four day weeks and stuff like that. Thursday afternoon is usually the time that everybody is there for the last time during the week. It just tends to be what’s happening at the weekend, “What are you up to? What’re your plans?” that sort of thing. Then it just descends into an hour of chaos for a little while, but it’s nice because people get to have some of that banter that I think we miss out on.
It has to be a bit more organised. That’s probably one of the biggest challenges we realised early on; we had to be more organised with those sorts of things. Now that we’ve got into the rhythm of it, it feels more natural.
Just building on that, what would you say then are some of the other factors that have contributed towards the success of remote working for ROD and having this incredible year in still quite challenging circumstances?
Lee: The marketplace we’re in is really busy, so that helps, I think. It went quiet for a little bit, but within a matter of a few months, the pendulum swung back, not only to the middle but towards the other side again. Not just because of what we’re going through, but Salesforce and the cloud are more relevant than ever with what’s going on. It’s a busy market, which helps in recruitment. That’s helped us have a good year. We switched our recruitment policy from local and inexperienced junior people because of our location; we are now looking for people with experience. It doesn’t matter where they’re based. As long as they’re in the UK and have the right attitude, those kinds of people can come into the business. In recruitment, you tend to find that you can pick up the technology speak quite quickly. It’s quite exciting for the company moving forward that we are in a crazy growth market.
Lee: Technically, the restrictions on growth for us, one of the main ones was the location; we picked it so we can’t moan about it. We didn’t want to go to London every day, so we chose this particular part of Kent, but it hindered our growth in terms of finding people that knew how to do recruitment, and that has gone now. That barrier has been removed. I think those two things.
Theresa: People that we can hire for but even the fact that we offer remote working, we offer flexible working, opens up the spectrum. Like mums returning to work. It’s made it a lot more accessible for them or any parent to be able to juggle childcare and work-life balance
Theresa: Suddenly again, you’re expanding your horizons a little bit further there. It also means that we could potentially look at branching out into other countries in the future. We’re not just limited by a geographical location or just the fact that we’re in the UK. We could start to look further afield anyway. Being a recruitment company that has covered Europe and Dubai and places like that, that’s quite an exciting opportunity.
Theresa: It starts to attract a different calibre of employee because they begin to see the potential there.
There are lots of other things that are starting to generate success. Even just the people that we’ve taken on. I’ve got to give a little shout-out because we’ve recruited three people now since going fully remote. We’ve had to change our recruitment process to make sure we’re finding the right people that are motivated to work from home because they’re equally making it a success because they’re living their best life possible. Those are great success stories because ordinarily, they wouldn’t have had that chance. They would have been forced back into the office or even stuck with travelling expenses; even if you add that up in itself, financially, they’re better off because they don’t have to drive into an office.
Lee: Also, a little shout-out to our marketing team, which is yourselves, because we obviously relied on you a lot. In the early stages of the pandemic, we probably didn’t think about marketing, but after a while, we started to realise that we had to stay, with your help, of course, we have to stay relevant and front of mind, but without talking about jobs. I think that’s really helped position us in the market as a company that wasn’t going anywhere and were there if you wanted to talk to us. With a few of the podcasts, it was your idea for us to get out there. It’s always good to have a marketing company that can talk to you about a quick shift in your message that quickly, which we did.
Theresa: Actually, I want to add a point in because one candidate springs to mind in particular. I won’t say their name. We became almost like an agony aunt during the lockdown, and people were coming to us because the message was, “You’re still working, you’re still trading, you’re still doing business as normal.” That was specifically down to marketing. There were so many companies that just shut up shop. I know that we were in danger of it at the beginning, and thank you for talking us out of that. We made ourselves relevant with some of the roundtables that we’ve done with your help.
Theresa: People saw us as a little beacon of light in the darkness, and they were coming to us. For months and months, we were just taking phone calls from people.
Theresa: “We just want to talk to someone familiar, someone who understands what we’re going through.” There were some people that we’ve had amazing messages from that have said, “We’re so pleased because we don’t know how we would have got through that period without you.” That is a knock-on effect from the marketing that you guys continued to do for us.
Theresa: I think also being able to not make it about yourself, and I think that’s what we tried to do during that period. It wasn’t about us; it was about them. It was about their pain, their journey that they were going through, and just being there for other people. Yes, our business was impacted, but in some respect, what people were going through and the ability to be able to help them helped us because it gave us a bit of a kick up the bum and said, “Right, come on, we’ve got to push on through this.”
At what point did you start to think that this remote working, the flexible working that it’s now evolved into, is the way forward for not just ROD as a business, but for your own lifestyles and what you want for your future?
Lee: We talked to a lot of companies. A lot of our clients have always been remote. Not the big, big boys, but a lot of the companies we recruit for, have always had this remote model. I don’t know why, but I never really thought that was for us.
Lee: I grew up in an office environment, and a sales office should be a buzzy office, deals being done and high fives and all that cheesy nonsense. I don’t suppose we would have ever done it if it wasn’t forced upon us, but having it forced upon us, the ridiculous cost savings from having an office and all that sort of stuff; that helped. I don’t know if there’s a particular moment where I could say, “Yes, that’s the day it was like, ‘We’re never going to go back to an office.'” The lifestyle we’re now leading is flexible.
Theresa: We got a bit more spontaneous as well, which is quite nice. I would add to what Lee was saying that we’ve always been very open and transparent with our employees. We very much care about what they think about the business’s direction and any changes that we’re thinking of introducing.
We’ve made a point of talking to the guys about what they envisage the business to look like moving forward. It has come out of conversations where people are just saying, “Do you know what? I don’t care about whether we go back into the office. I’m quite enjoying my life right now and the flexibility that it gives me.” We’ve gone from saying, “Well, we’ll make sure we’ll meet up once a month.” To suddenly going well, “Do we need to do that? Because we’re on a Zoom call every day.” Even now, people are going, “Well, I think that’s a bit overkill.” It’s actually about listening to what people want within the business. It has been easy for us to get caught up in what we think is right
Lee: I also think, digging deeper, the people that worked for us in the office, there was a few of them that we thought for sure would want to go back to an office, and they said they didn’t. It’s then making sure that it’s for the right reasons. Then for us, recruitment is one of those industries where it’s quite easy to track whether someone’s doing their job or not, by and large, KPIs and placements etc. It was easy to fairly quickly flush out if someone was saying they don’t want to go back to the office because they’re working from home and they’ve kind of not. Not that we had any of that. I know from speaking to these clients that we have how they remote manage people, which did help us.
Lee: Speaking to those companies that you remote manage. In many ways, it’s easier to remote manage than it is when someone’s sat opposite you, in my opinion, because you’re not sitting there every day listening to the reasons and feeling sorry for them. When it’s in black and white, and you’re not there, you can look at the numbers and go, “What is it you’re not doing?”
Theresa: He said to me one time, and this has always stuck in my head, and probably became more relevant when we started to work remotely was, “It’s about data, not drama.” You can very clearly see whether someone is performing or not, and of course, we were still very supportive. Just because we don’t sit near them at a desk, we still offer that same level of support. The beauty of it is you don’t see the excuses that go on. I would say that that has stopped. People realise now; they don’t have the distractions in the office. They can’t blame someone else for distracting them because people are very much self-sufficient now. Yes, it has kind of taken all of that away, which is amazing because it means we’re less stressed. We have a lot more energy. When we’re sitting in our meetings in the morning, we’re more upbeat and energetic because we haven’t got the drain of that.
Theresa: Trying to counterbalance negative energy is draining, but we just don’t have any of that anymore.
Lee: Since not having an office, the sickness record of people has been much improved. I’m not saying we’re pushing people to work when they’re at home and they’re sick. We’d obviously be the first people to say, “You’re ill; go back to bed. Log off.” Maybe in the olden days, if you were feeling a bit groggy, you wouldn’t want to go to work, so that was a day sick. That’s something that, if you’re just looking at the data, has plummeted.
Sharon: It sounds like there’s a healthier physically and mentally team
Theresa: You’re a coach Sharon, so you understand that they go hand in hand. If your life isn’t working very well, it has a knock-on effect.
Theresa: If you can take care of yourself and you put your health first, actually, that means that you can start to look after your family and your relationships and your work and so on. It has a huge impact on your whole life.
As ROD continues to expand, are there any other considerations that you might need to put in place to continue that growth trajectory that you’re on? Or is it just a case of you keep learning and evolving?
Lee: I think one of the things we’re going to be doing next year is setting out a bit more of a hierarchy in the business. We used to have, as you know, a sales manager, and then some younger people reporting to that person. It has gone flat in terms of the structure at the moment. When COVID kicked in, Theresa and I jumped straight back in, doing everything.
Lee: Doing everything we do, which for me, isn’t a lot, but for Theresa, it’s most of the things. Paul came back as a non-billing manager to a biller, and everyone else is a biller. We’re going to get to a point where we need to start promoting leaders, and you can’t do a Zoom call in the morning with 20 little faces on there. It’s hard enough. I think we’ve reached a limit of 10. Even doing this now, we’re talking over each other all the time. We’ve got to split it out a little bit. That would be interesting in 2022.
Theresa: You don’t have the luxury of being able to walk through the office and touch base and catch up with people. This way, in smaller teams, it makes it a lot more manageable. We will definitely focus on how to restructure the company properly. We’re fortunate the space we work in is, again, we do coaching, is you find somebody who does it incredibly well, and you model your business around what works well. I think the onboarding as well is something that we’ll have to improve. It’s got better each time we’ve taken someone on, but I feel sorry for Nick because he was the first guinea pig for onboarding remotely. We made sure that it’s a two-way conversation. If we’re not doing something, you need to tell us so that we can adjust it.
Lee: That’s new stress, isn’t it? I think give a shout-out to Natalie here as well because she was the second person we took on remotely. The PC and all of the equipment that was supposed to get to her went on an around-the-world trip before it got to her. Between Theresa and Natalie, they were trying to figure out where it was. It was quite stressful because she was supposed to be starting in a couple of days.
Theresa: It arrived the day before she was due to start.
Theresa: From the trustworthy company that can deliver your equipment to employees, that’s number one on the list. You want them to feel valued. You don’t want people starting on the first day, and they don’t even have an email or can’t get access to anything. You try to get stuff sent out in plenty of time, but that was unbelievable.
Theresa: It’s a little bit out of your control to a certain extent because you give it to this delivery person expecting it to arrive, and it’s like, “Well, where is it?” It was great bonding because we got to know one another really well in the lead up to it.
How about yourselves? What are your favourite bits of this move to live in the Lakes?
Theresa: Number one is enjoying something whilst we’re young enough because we always thought it would be a bit of a retirement plan. The fact that we are living here at this stage of our life is just an absolute blessing. I think it has changed our outlook. We’ve gone from being complete and utter workaholics to having a much better work-life balance than we’ve ever had. Being a little bit more hands-off has given us more freedom to actually be more creative because we’re not just driven by a geographical location or an office.
We don’t feel guilty now if we take a couple of hours off in the morning because we know we’re at our most creative when we’re out walking; that’s always been the case for us. I get other people have different outlets for creativity. We come up with our best plans of action when we’re going off for a long stroll. Now we can do it during the working day, and it becomes part of our work rather than the need to separate time out of the office. It’s been an absolute blessing.
Lee: You move so far away from everything you’ve ever known, you’ve got to try and put yourself out there, especially if you work from home because you’re not going to get to meet coworkers. Obviously, you work from home in a place you don’t know anybody. Even though we’re busy and workaholics, one of our plans was to get out there and do some volunteering, whatever it is you can do in the Lake District. I just happened to search for volunteering opportunities and noticed Lake District Radio looking for presenters. I was picturing myself probably doing litter picking or something. I didn’t expect it to be that.
Theresa: You’re the voice of RODcast; it’s a natural progression.
Lee: I think the things like the fell walking; we always liked to do long walks as you know, with all the challenges we’ve done over the years. Now living in the middle of it, it’s nice to go when the weather is nice; we also do a bit of open water swimming now. All these things that I used to think other people did. Other people that I didn’t really like if I’m honest.
Lee: But now that’s what we do. Yes, that’s great. Living in the middle of a tourist area, when the sun is shining, it is so tempting to log off and go outside.
Lee: The minute Lockdown 1 stopped, and people were allowed to come and see you, you’d gone from a year of just the two of us, nice and quiet and, “Isn’t this nice.” The flood gates are open, and everyone’s on holiday when you’re trying to work. That’s a challenge as well.
Where can people find out more about Resource on Demand?
Theresa: There are so many channels. Thanks to our marketing team 🙂 you guys, they’ve made sure that we’ve got something everywhere. If people want to find out about what we offer as a service, go to the website Resource on Demand or there is; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. We also have our podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Google podcasts.
Lee: JustGiving too; we’re planting trees now for every placement we make. Not literally, but someone is planting trees.
Theresa: We’re offsetting our carbon and with every placement we make, we will now plant trees to help combat climate change. We also do offer careers coaching. Again, all of these things can be found on various social media platforms; we’re all over them. Recruiters thinking about a lifestyle change; we’ve got an amazing Working With Us page on our website so they can find out more.
Lee: Plus the podcast that’s out there from wherever you get your podcasts.
Lee: There are not hundreds of them; they’re people who are in my mind, absolute legends in the Salesforce space. Rather than have a recruiter telling you what you should and shouldn’t do for your next move or whether you should take their counter offer or not, listen to people in the industry that have been around a bit.
Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you think would be great for people to know about what makes remote working a success or how you’ve made it a success, or anything else that you’d like to share as we draw to a close?
Theresa: The only thing I would probably say is to keep an open mind. As a business owner, I know that people are tied into leases, but it’s seeing opportunity and keeping an open mind to that because I think we are all stuck in our habits because we’re just creatures of habit.
Theresa: We just naturally fall into patterns. I think just being able to keep an open mind. Whatever opportunity comes along, just look for the opportunity in it. I think that’s probably the biggest thing because whilst we stupidly had all of the systems in place to be able to work remotely, it was only when push came to shove that it happened. Actually, we fully embraced it. We’ve taken it with both hands and tried to run with it. It’s just having that ability to be a bit open-minded.
Lee: I think also when you’re working from home, there’s a fine line between feeling guilty if you put the washing on or do something that you might consider to be, “Oh wait, this is a chore I should be doing in the evening,” or the weekend or something. Give yourself a break. When planning your day, try and plan something for you, something like that walk at lunchtime or go in that coffee shop. I am a coffee addict, so I make sure we walk out every day to one of the many hundreds of lovely coffee shops we can get to.
I get grumpy if we don’t do it because I have to feel like I’m getting out. Have a little mooch around. Get a coffee, come back. Otherwise, because you’re working from home, it’s data over drama. People might be thinking, “I’ve got to show that I’m working and the only way to show I’m working is output,” but don’t feel guilty for blocking in an hour or maybe even more if you’ve got flexitime to go and have a walk, clear your head at the gym, watch your kids do something at school, whatever it is. That would be my tip.
Theresa: Being able to create a boundary between work and home as well because you are in your home, it’s so important not to let work spillover. Don’t be frightened to switch off the mobile phone when you’ve finished at the end of the day. You don’t have to be reading emails or taking phone calls outside of the hours that you work. Don’t be frightened of switching off those devices; put them aside. We have one mobile phone, but we give a separate mobile phone to our employees purposely so that we know that they can switch it off at the end of the day because you’ve got to create a boundary. You can’t let the two spillover.
Lee: I suppose that’s communication. We’ve had this with some clients where they’re almost expecting their employees because they’re working from home to be accessible all the time. If anyone’s looking to move jobs, ask upfront, “What are the boundaries?” “If you email me, Mr Boss, at 10:30pm, are you expecting a response?” Because you’re looking at 10:30 doesn’t mean that everyone else has to, because bosses probably will be working at 10:30 in some places.
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