The Covid 19 pandemic has limited recruitment more than ever as we anticipate an economic recession and work harder to meet our targets. But for the few of us lucky enough to be recruited, how has a remote start affected our journey at Profusion? 

Let’s hear from Sally Weatherall, Head of Education and Philanthropy at Profusion, about her Lockdown recruitment experience. 

You joined during full lockdown, what was that like?

By the time I joined Profusion I had been working remotely at my last organisation for around 5 months, so that helped a lot as video calls and Teams chat were already the norm in my working day. But it was definitely a strange feeling sitting down for the first day of my new job in my living room!

It has probably taken me longer to pick up exactly who works with who and on what? It’s made me reflect on how much you pick up by osmosis being in an office, hearing conversations and seeing people interact. This is particularly true of projects and areas of work that I don’t work on. However, I feel really lucky to have joined a company like Profusion where there has been so much put into keeping teams and colleagues engaged and connected. Through Coffee Roulette, I’ve met people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Similarly, I’ve joined the weekly online workouts which are a great motivation! Plus I see faces I don’t see day to day. All these interactions have been really important to genuinely get to know the culture and team at Profusion. 

How have you been coping with remote working?

There is lots I have enjoyed about remote working, but it definitely comes with some challenges and some of the novelty has worn off from the start of the lockdown! I live in a flat and work in my living room, and there have been days where it feels like I am in the same space 24 hours a day. But I tried from the start to be disciplined about having a routine, getting outside and remembering to get up and move.

To start my day, I do a 30-minute walk in my local park and listen to a podcast. This is like a “commute” but through a green park rather than crammed on a train. It helps me set my mind up for the day of work and breaks up getting out of bed and sitting in front of my laptop. I then do the same at the end of the day to mark that the working day is over.

I really miss in-person meetings, particularly when you are being creative or with larger groups. I also miss presenting to a real-life room, it’s much harder to judge feedback or see people actively listening when presenting on video.

A tip I got when first remote working and moving to communicating mainly by chat, email and video was “always assume positive intent”. It is harder to pick up tone on chat and email and harder to read social cues on video, we are still getting used to this. If you start with the point of view that people have positive intentions, it helps prevent unintended conflict or misinterpretations!

It’s also really important to ask for help when you need it. When working remotely and faced with a challenge you might feel like you are having to deal with it alone and that can be stressful. In the office, a colleague might spot you look like you need help, or you may turn to someone next to you and bounce your ideas off them. When working remotely you have to be more proactive about getting help, and don’t let things spiral alone at home.

I really miss interacting with people in real life, but overall I have a better work-life balance than I did when I was commuting five days a week and I think that is down to creating a routine to ensure I have a start and end to my working day.   

Have you found any unexpected benefits to working from home?

Yes definitely! If I have a large piece of work that needs solid focus time, working at home is the best place for me to do this. When working remotely there is a different rhythm to communication with people, for example in real life you may just get up, walk over to someone’s desk and ask them something. When you are remote you probably send them a chat message which they may reply to straight away or in a couple of hours when they have time. That can take a little time to get used to, but on the flip side people are more in control of their own time and can carve out time to focus on things without distractions.

Gaining back the travelling hours usually spent commuting has also meant fitting more things into my day outside of work hours that I had usually run out of energy to do, like exercise or cooking a nice meal. 

Top WFH living tips

Mark the start and end of your working day for example with a walk. It can be easy to let the hours roll on when you are working remotely. In the office, people would start to get up to get a train home which would prompt you to end your day, when you don’t have this at home you need to do something to symbolise that work is done, and your evening is beginning.

Sounds: We are not used to working in silence and alone, so having some music, radio or rain sounds is a good way to create some atmosphere that you miss from being in an office. 

Screen-free time. When you are on video calls all the time it’s extra important to try and find some screen-free time, so I try to have no screens at lunch and close my laptop. I’m not as good at sticking to this! But when I do, I can feel the benefit of taking that proper break.

Completely pack away the office on a Friday afternoon, so home space doesn’t feel like office space

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