We admit it… prior to lockdown, and remote working, we had never even heard of Zoom let alone used it. We’re not the only ones though. With Zoom reporting a an increase of 12 million users since January 2020, it seems that this easy to use video conferencing equipment is becoming part and parcel of many people’s daily life.
We think it goes beyond this. Obviously the increase in Zoom users is a direct reflection of the strange times we find ourselves living in, but with the ever-increasing city office rental costs, the campaign to cut carbon emissions, and the general want from most people to have a better work/life balance, it appears more and more people are looking at different ways of working.
From midway through 2019 I started to go through my own business evaluation, thinking about how I can grow the business and also how that can have a positive impact on my life. I make no apologies for putting my own work/life balance at the top of my list of important priorities. I have long held the belief that the standard of your life is reflected in your work.
The importance of work/life balance
I remember when I was in my mid-twenties (not long ago), I was working as a Senior Designer for a magazine publisher. Due to an increase in work I talked to my boss about hiring another designer. The job got advertised, and before I knew it the interviews had started. I love seeing other people’s work and hearing about how they approached projects and how they arrived at the finished piece of work. There was one woman that I interviewed that will always stick in my mind. She was in her late twenties, she was based in London but moving to Scotland, and she had worked for a couple of big advertising agencies. She had a gap in her recent work history where she had marked it as ’travelling the world’. Her CV raised a few eyebrows but the question kept running through my head, “why here?” She had a CV and work examples that would lead you to believe that she could walk into any top agency in London and get a job.
When I interviewed her it started to become clear. She was a really nice woman, really chatty, but she looked tired. When she was presenting her work there was no enthusiasm from her. I thought she might have had a bad night’s sleep due to her interview the next day, but when I asked her about the gap in her work history she just sighed and said “I’m going to be honest with you… I burnt out. I had to take a few months off because my work schedule just became too much for me.” Apart from working in a fast-paced environment and working from deadline to deadline, which is part of the job, she was also living in one of the suburbs of London whilst working in the city. She would often leave at 7am and not return home until 11pm. Her move to Scotland was a lifestyle choice and a desire for a better work/life balance.
Not sacrificing productivity and collaboration
With many people working from home it has highlighted that productivity and collaboration don’t need to be sacrificed because you aren’t sharing an office with colleagues. The CEO of Twitter recently announced that going forward, all of their employees will be able to decide if they want to work from home. It’s an amazing announcement for the CEO of one of the major social media platforms to make, but it reflects the evolution of cloud-based technology and the desire for an improvement in the quality of life.
Remote Working benefits for employers
We have been working remotely with a number of associates over the past few months. Video conferencing technology and applications such as Slack have become invaluable business tools, and it is my strong belief that this is just the start of things to come. Another Glasgow agency recently announced that all of its employees can opt to work from home. Their CEO pointed out that not only should employees not feel the need to work from a physical office space, but that the agency also shouldn’t restrict itself to a small talent pool. Their stance is that whether you are working from a flat two streets away from their office, or working from a flat in London, Barcelona, Munich, or New York, if you can work as part of their remote team then they can potentially employ you.
It’s unfortunate that it has taken something as severe as a global pandemic to highlight that there are other ways of working. The days of battling through the daily commute to be at your desk at 9am may not be over, but things are certainly changing.