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Eat Sleep Business: The death of the office environment.


COVID is changing the world. That’s a fact. We can’t deny it. Businesses are adapting, Shoppers are switching the habits. Life is returning to ‘normal’ but there’s a lot of things happening that we think are shaping the culture. 

We’re seeing big leading companies in the tech world take a step back and analyse their working environment and work culture. Companies like Google and Twitter announced that employees can work from home until next year. (and in Twitter’s case can indefinitely work from home.)

It’s quite a unique situation to be in. Lots of companies value their office space. Making their office space a really welcoming environment having breakout spaces with a ping pong table (or a slide). It was a trend we’ve seen blossom over the years that companies want people to want to come to work. They want them to enjoy their time at the office. They use their office space as a selling point a lot of the time. 

But now everyone is at home. Big flashy desks have been replaced with breakfast bars and dining room tables. Our new coworkers shed a lot and demand a lot of attention.

The dynamic shifted so suddenly and a lot of people seem to be okay with it. Working from home, while not for everyone, it does have it’s advantages. Minimal commute. Work in your PJs – it’s all good stuff.

But how are companies coping without having their eye on their staff? and how will we be adapting to home office life long term? 

At +24 not a lot has really changed. We’re quite a sociable office so that’s taken a little hit. The comradery or office banter isn’t as regular. But we do daily check-in’s with our individual teams to make sure we’re all in the loop. This keeps us up to date with each other’s projects and tasks (I also think the boss likes to make sure we’re out of bed). 

The traditional 9-5 workday has shifted for a few people too. The work and the tasks are getting done. But some people have been trading morning working for evening working sessions. To help better accommodate their kid’s schedules. Some have even elected to wake up with partners and starting their day bright and early and getting in an early finish. 

For now, we’ve said goodbye to the traditional work environment. We’re not tied down to the bricks and mortar of an office building. We’re enjoying and experimenting with this new working setup. We will still be meeting in person now and again but we can use temporary spaces or coworking venues. 

Obviously, This can’t apply to everyone you cant operate a factory or warehouse from your spare room. So it makes sense to have those still located where they need to be. But for some industries, it’s a time to cast off the shackles of the normal office life and say hello your new home office set up. 

 

Some tips we’ve found useful while working from home and managing teams 

 

Communication is key! 
We’ve been using the app Slack for a while now. It’s a fantastic way to keep in touch with your team, you can see when they’re online, they can set a status for lunch. It also cuts down on sending a formal email for everything. It’s a fantastic tool. Slack has become our virtual office. 

 

Flexibility.
Look, you need to know what your staff are doing when they’re doing it. We get that. Otherwise, what are we paying them for? But when it comes to working from home it’s not quite the same as being able to just sit down at your office desk and switch off. There will be dogs barking in the background of phone calls. Children will need attention during meetings. A degree of flexibility is needed. Trying to ensure your staff only have a 30-minute lunch break while they’ve got multiple mouths to feed isn’t ideal and it ain’t going to happen. 

 

Keeping focused. 
This is the big one. So many things going on at home, especially when some people are furloughed, some people are working. There are kids, pets and a constant slew of Amazon packages being delivered to make yourself feel better about being cooped up. It can get distracting. We’ve been using software like Asana to set tasks for staff so they can see what it is, the outline of the job and when it’s deadline is. As well as keeping our Google calendars populated, all of our staff can see each other’s schedules. It’s a good way to keep track of everyone and everything going on. 

And personally they send little push notifications throughout the day when it’s almost time for your next task. I’ve found that really helpful especially when I’m into something or really working on a project.

 

Keep it fun
There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there. The world is a pretty bleak place right now. If you can add a little bit of laughter into that you get much more out of your team. You might have seen we had the incredible Jason Rae drop into a team call to do some magic.. 

On Fridays, we host a little eSocial to have a beer and a catch-up or play some little game. It’s been a good laugh and it keeps morale up.

 

If you’re still keen to learn more about us or our take on office life. Check out episode 6 of our podcast, Eat Sleep Business.