Continuous Improvement blogOne year at home

15 April 2021

The many and varied challenges of the last year have been thoroughly explored over the last 12 months and so Graeme and Susan had a conversation about some of the things they don’t want to change as we move to a safer, more vaccinated, flexible workspace.

Graeme - Let’s start with some work benefits. To date in the last year I’ve had to cancel no meetings or training sessions due to snow, and we had some lovely crisp snowy days this year.

Susan – Good point, also in the last 12 months none of us have been late for work, meetings, delivering training sessions, or conferences due to train or bus issues or heavy traffic.

Graeme – A year ago, I think it’s fair to say we had significant concerns on our ability to deliver training and workshops remotely. Fast forward 12 months and we are managing to reach out to more people with increased regularity and are on target to double our training footprint this year.

Susan – Actually I can tell you that as of last week we have doubled that.

Susan - Think about our resources too. – Back in the office we have two cupboards that scrupulously list and store all the sticky notes, pens, brown paper etc that we use for workshops. Digital first and tools such as Miro mean that the preparation is minimal and reusable at minimal cost.

Graeme – Good for us, good for the environment and since it means I don’t need to lug great rolls of brown paper and handouts round the campus for workshops, good for my sciatica.

A railway stationGraeme – Aside from work benefits, there are personal ones too. I don’t recall the last time I stood cold on a station platform awaiting a train that is never coming and ending up with a £25 taxi fare home. Or sat next to ‘insensitive personal space guy’ who deems it necessary to include you and the rest of the carriage in his vocal disproving dissection of their day as he’s on hands free.

Susan – Yes, I can’t say I miss my commute, especially the bus home which could sometimes take up to an hour and a half for a nine-mile journey! Let’s not forget how much money we’re saving on bus/train fares too!

Graeme – Indeed, although as with every new saving a new home is easily found in the expense’s column. Have you seen our new garden furniture?

Graeme - Freshly prepared lunches. It’s so nice to have a salad that hasn’t endured a commute on a busy train and 3 hours in your laptop bag for lunch.

Susan – 3 hours in your laptop bag? I take it that means you forget to put it in the fridge when you arrive at work?

Graeme – There are family benefits too. I’m probably fortunate in that my kids are of an age where they are relatively self-sufficient with school and don’t need too much of my home schooling.

Susan – Lucky kids, avoiding your home schooling!

A table with snacks laid outGraeme – Hhmmm yes…. seeing them for breakfast lunch and dinner daily, holding conversations that can be picked up and laid down over days has been a gift. I especially enjoy our new innovation, 5pm snack time – crisps, nuts, hoummous, carrots and a drink, the demarcation of our work to home time.

Susan – I know what you mean.  It’s a little different for me as both my kids are grown up and at work.  They work different shifts though so go to bed and get up at various times.  Working from home definitely means I get to spend more time with them, mostly because of my lack of commute.

Graeme - Flexibility – In Scotland the weather is usually the master of our outdoor activity. It’s great to be able to get the dog out for a decent walk over lunch when the sun shines, really sets you up for the rest of the day.

Susan – I’m getting more sleep too.  I used to get up at 5am to get out for a run before my journey to work.  I don’t need to get up quite as early now.

Susan – there are other benefits that aren’t as regular, but still make a difference.  For example, my oven broke a few weeks ago and the repair guy could only come in the middle of the day.  Had I been in the office, I would have had to take the day off.  As it was, I stepped away from my computer for five minutes to let him in and explain the issue, then went back to work while he carried out the repair.

Graeme – Lucky kids, avoiding your home cooking!

Susan – Touché.

Graeme – I think the lesson is to appreciate the benefits of the situation we found ourselves in. Look for the future combination that maintains these while negating the social, geographical and communication issues it has brought.

Susan – Like not getting a beer after work on a Friday.

Graeme – That too