Since lockdown began, we’ve heard categorical rejections to remote working, which I have responded to bluntly. 100% of our workforce in Europe and Latin America have worked remotely for 10 years and we don’t share these objections. However, after listening to the reasoning, we can understand the disapproval.
For many, it’s the first time they’d worked from home. Some don’t have what we call PREACH at FMHOUSE: P for permission, even if in this case it’s imperative; R for resources: a good Wi-Fi connection, a large screen and a mouse (no triviality; it’s important for productivity); E for environment: a dedicated and preferably separate space; A for attitude: get dressed, eat and drink as if you were going to work, not as if you were on holiday and working every now and then; C for comfort: from the lighting, desk, chair, to having something to put your feet on. And H for hours: important, otherwise, you end up wandering around and wasting the day.
Apart from the absence of some of these things, another significant factor is that many parents have suddenly had to become teachers. Not only do they have to adapt to the new environment and circumstances, but they’ve also been set homework, practicals and manual work by their kids’ schools. A colleague told us the other day that she was making a musical instrument out of recycled materials. At least she’s developing her creativity.
Other important aspects of containment measures are the fact that many can’t leave the house, exercise outdoors, socialise and, for those of us with children, having them stuck at home is traumatic. Also, not being able to see our loved ones fills us with a feeling of impotence which, when added to the fear of infection, the news of new cases and deaths, and the uncertainty of how long this will last, becomes a cocktail of frustrations that makes it hard to work from home. When we shared this idea with colleagues, we also found that it’s even putting us to the test, and we implemented PREACH successfully years ago. We can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for others.
An unusual situation
Our message is that this isn’t the same as remote working under normal conditions. At the moment, some of us are juggling a new job with acting as a teacher, the stress of not getting infected and the inability to leave an enclosed space. The amount of patience and self-control required isn’t the same as it was for someone who was working from home three months ago. We invite you to try it again when this is over. We promise it works.