These are unprecedented times. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our work, family and social dynamics. With most of Europe locked down, restoring some kind of normality to our lives will take time.
In our new ‘Day in the Life of a Remote Worker’ series, we talk to some of our colleagues to learn about their new reality as remote workers – and how they are rising to the challenge in continuing to provide the very best service to our clients and candidates.
Alistair Shaw, managing director Morgan Philips group ,reveals that he has an inquisitive homeworking companion for company, the kids are busy doing a Joe Wicks workout and the teams are playing ‘Rate their Plate’…
How are you adapting to homeworking during the Coronavirus outbreak?
Alistair: I’m fortunate that Morgan Philips is tech enabled, so working from home has been available for the past number of years. Normally I try and work from home at least once or twice a month anyway to escape my team and get through some work! It’s not really been alien to me. I’m all set up and in the fortunate position I have a good space to work in.
What are the main obstacles and how are you getting round them?
Alistair: Our job is customer facing and involves building relationships. Going out to meet clients at their offices or having the occasional nice lunch is the fun part of working in recruitment. Building trust and then helping clients with any of their workforce problems is what it’s all about so that’s a challenge. Most decision makers are quite rightly focusing on their teams just now and making sure they ride out this storm, so we’ve seen a drop in client interaction while candidate communication has been on the up as they want to know what is happening in the market. We’re just trying to make sure we’re not full on. We want our clients and candidates to know we’re here to help. For clients still hiring, we’ve set up Skypes, Zooms etc. to make sure key hires still happen.
With the distraction of children, how do you remain focused and productive?
Alistair: I’m fortunate that my kids aren’t too annoying, they have their moments, but they know I’m here to work. Today was our first full day with everyone home. We kicked off with PE at 9am with Joe Wicks which I joined in and just about survived. They then went on Google Classroom and completed their work throughout the day. Tomorrow we’ll have a fire drill and I’ve purchased a bucket of sawdust to roam the corridors in a menacing janitor style fashion.
What are you doing to communicate with your team and the wider organisation?
Alistair: I’ve got a great leadership team that kick their teams off every morning with a video call. We’re in constant contact through WhatsApp and Skype. I’m trying to ensure I send out at least one company wide communication a day to let everyone know all is good and we’re here to help. We have a brilliant support team to give us all the tools to keep doing our job well. Our HR team has supported with our mental wellbeing, sharing many ideas from meditation to getting outside to exercise (sensibly). We’re now trying to explore virtual team building, with some teams starting the day with a song while others just toast each other with a Friday drink. This week our social team is asking everyone to send pictures of their lunch in so we can “Rate their Plate”.
And what about maintaining effective interaction with clients and candidates?
Alistair: Everyone has access to our CRM so we are basically supporting our candidates and clients where we can via messaging, email, LinkedIn or old fashioned phoning.
What are you enjoying most about working from home?
Alistair: I’ve made a new friend, basically stolen one of our neighbour’s cats who likes to chill with me for a couple of hours. My wife starts her working from home tomorrow, so my enjoyment level may change over the next few weeks as I fear I may become tea boy.
Do you have any advice for anyone working remotely?
Alistair: There’s so much now on LinkedIn that I on’t be able to add too much more amazing insight, but Zoom seems to work best for team calls and Houseparty is a great app for the kids to keep in touch with their school friends. My advice is to count to 10 if you feel the stress of the kids, miss your family or can’t get to do your hobbies. This will pass. We’ve seen a solid bounce back in our Chinese and HK offices, so I’m confident of that. Keep it simple, get a routine, download the calm app and don’t drink all your booze cupboard in the first week would be my other advice. If you don’t have anyone else in your house, just steal the neighbour’s cat. Finally if you are worried about your work situation, please give us a call. We are here to help.
Feel free to get in touch with Alistair Shaw for all your recruitment needs or job search efforts.