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 to continue to provide the very best service to our clients and candidates.
In her own inimitable style, Bev Parekh, Managing Consultant, for our HR division, London, seems to have homeworking down to a tee. As she reveals, it’s all about setting boundaries and letting people know in no uncertain terms when a) she’s not to be disturbed and b) hunger strikes…
How are you adapting to homeworking during the Coronavirus outbreak?
Bev: Started off in the bedroom, to the dining room, escalated to the garden and now found my happy space in the lounge. Yes I have tried it everywhere. I would say I am adapting very well. Having previously been field based for three years, so I thought I would breeze homeworking with ease but with environmental changes and a decision I made to stay with my elderly parents during the crisis, to assist them in daily duties, has been far from easy. Let’s say it's a working progress.
What are the main obstacles and how are you getting round them?
Bev: There have been a few but let me highlight the top two for this week. Keeping my parents out of my space and waking up a 19 year old. Everyone thinks only children can be distractions. Been there, done that. You'd think the older the easier. Meet my family who only follow their instructions. After several chats, I have set boundaries, times they can talk to me and open the door. I also discovered a magic sign I use religiously that seems to have worked wonders. Let’s not even talk about how to deal with my 19 year old. Any advice?
With the distraction of children, how do you remain focused and productive?
Bev: Good question. I don't have any as explained above. I get my family onto Zumba first thing with me, weight lifting, jogging, you name it, so they get tired and stay quiet through the morning (okay I wish I could). The beauty of manifestation, right? I take regular breaks away from the laptop and phone, love going for my daily walk, which helps clear my head. The day before, I will set goals, prioritise, and stick to my plan each day.
What are you doing to communicate with your team and the wider organisation?
Bev: We have a weekly virtual lunch club set up via Zoom and Skype, several WhatsApp/FaceTime group chats to keep us all sane. We are always talking to each other over the phone too. What has been lovely is talking to people in other locations and departments such as Legal, Finance, IT & Marketing to share best practice and just be a sounding board to anyone in need! We have training sessions run by our senior team to keep us all up to date and upskilled, which has been refreshing. Our HR team is highly supportive with our mental wellbeing and we have various exercise sessions we can all get involved in.
And what about maintaining effective interaction with clients and candidates?
Bev: We have always reinforced the point to our clients and candidates that we are happy to help. This stands. Nothing changes. We are in this together. Recruitment is all about people, building relationships, and adding value by providing specialist market insights. It is important to be in frequent contact and understand what the client and candidate may need in this current time and help them where I can. Talking to people is always uplifting as it can be lonely, so getting on Zoom, Skype, Houseparty or whatever other methods, I am there! It’s important to keep talking among each other and helping others.
What are you enjoying most about working from home?
Bev: Although I have probably given the impression that I have a distracting family, after almost 20 years of being back home, I understand why my family want to be near me constantly. I LOVE spending quality time with them all and most importantly my mother’s home cooked food which comes out in timely fashion when I put out my 'Hungry Now' sign! Didn’t last long though as she has now put us all on a cooking rota.
Do you have any advice for anyone working remotely?
Bev: Create a happy space that works for you. Read, listen, watch what makes you feel good as this sets up your day. I have noticed there is an increase in noise on social media both negative and positive, remember not to let it consume your whole day and it is your choice what you wish to view. Whatever you choose, be kind and respectful. Have power hours, this is effective. What else, have a lock on your door, get a mini-fridge, use a sign for instructions, set boundaries, stick to your plan and don’t apologise for your kids or in my case adults making noise or walking in on you during a Zoom meeting. Enjoy your independence and rock your style.
You can get in touch with Bev Parekh to discuss your HR recruitment needs or if you want advice about your career and the options available to you.