Some of you may never return to the office, you have done your last real day in the office without realising it. But face-to-face contact with your colleagues remains important, so what now?
May 2020, marks 14 years since I started working at home. After many years as an Oracle Consultant, travelling to client sites, and collecting Marriott points I moved to a Managed Service role that was predominantly home-based.
I've gone through the ebbs and flows of working from home; 2 children growing up, nursing a terminally ill parent, reconstruction of the house around me, an office in a bedroom, an office in a garage (no windows), a purpose-built office.
Suddenly the mates who always thought that working at home was a "doss" are realising it is harder than it looks, it is a skill and takes practice, dedication, and commitment.
There are loads of blogs out there giving hints and tips about working from home. This is not one of them. This article is about helping you connect with your colleagues without a formal office environment.
At Claremont, we have been running frequent "Pop-up" offices. These are opportunities for colleagues to get together and co-work for the day, there is no agenda, no meetings just a seat next to each other. We run two variants of these "Pop-up" offices based on either geographical or team-based. For example, all our DBAs get together or everyone who lives in the South West gets together for the day.
It is social, it allows those virtual relationships to be developed further and fosters deeper collaboration when colleagues return to their home-based work world. You can also tag on an impromptu beer or some sort of social activity. One such activity was a 1-hour barista class at one Pop-up Office, it turned out to be great fun.
There are some great venues out there. We go for something a little quirky and different, not the cookie-cutter corporate office suite or hotel. A pub, library, museum, National Trust site, or non-standard meeting space. It is easy to keep these events cheap and cheerful, lots of pubs will give you a meeting room if you commit to a minimum spend on food and drink. Coffee, pastries, and lunch for 8 people easily get you a free room with great Wi-Fi.
So, when the new normal arrives and you can no longer go to the office, arrange a Pop-up Office. Get something in the diary early, spend time researching and finding a series of good venues across the country. Set the ground rules such as maximum travel distance, budget, etc. The most important thing is to have fun.
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