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The culture shift to permanent home-working is gathering steam at Grand Central

And its not all about COVID

The Grand Central Customer Relations team

TAKE a few seconds to imagine what your post-COVID workspace could look like. If you’re picturing yourself back in the office full-time then it’s definitely time to update your expectations.

It’s now almost a year since many of us were told to pack up our laptops and work from home until this new COVID thing had blown over. Well, here we are one year later and according to lots of studies it’s a culture shift which looks set to stay.

A survey by the British Council of Offices (BCO) found 46 percent of office workers have no intention of going back to a five-day week in the office, after finding working from their home set-up works much better for everyone involved. A further 15 per cent said they didn’t plan to go back to their workplace desk at all.

Bosses and employees have tasted full-time home working and have settled into the improved work life balance, more flexibility and the chance to better organise our commitments out of work.  Concerns over productivity away from the office have evaporated as managers notice their team can be trusted to prioritise and get on with business at home.

Of course, technology such as Zoom has facilitated the shift and forced us to embrace alternative ways of communication but the change for most has been painless and we’re loving the work life balance and the flexibility.

This month our own customer relations team said farewell to their Sheffield HQ and moved hello to a full-time permanent working-from-home operation.

Rob Oerton, our Head of Customer Policy, explained. "The timing of the move not only coincided with the end of our lease on our Sheffield office, but meant our team no longer need to be in the office during the ongoing COVID pandemic,” he said.

"However, the great thing about shifting to a home-working operation means we can be far more flexible in the way the team works and also, when we need to recruit new members we can deliver on our commitment to equality and inclusivity and cast our nets wider."

"Hopefully we're now more attractive to people with disabilities who have the skills we need but before this move may have been reluctant to apply for a position if they didn't live within easy reach of us. They can now have the full set-up at home".

Previously the six -strong team operated within in a call-centre set-up, huddled together in a traditional office environment while providing over-the-phone and email support to GC customers. That particular mould is now irreparably broken, with each member equipped with the internet-based STORM telephone system, providing all the functionality of an office-based set-up on a laptop and screen at home.

Rob added: "We’ve also put great emphasis on the wellbeing aspects of our changed working location and have used a new workstation assessment process and guidance video provided by the Safety Team to ensure the correct working conditions are created.

"While we settle into this working environment we're making good use of MS Teams to  replicate the style of mutual support we had when working on adjacent desks.  Regular group meetings, pre-work video chats and virtual one-to-one coffee breaks are all helping us to maintain a 'one team' culture and positive morale".
At Grand Central we’d love to see this particular national conversation gathering some steam. How have you and you company adapted to home working and is it the future you want to see?

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