Berwick @Home - I miss my daily commute

Berwick @Home - I miss my daily commute
Published: 27 April 2020

It is a phrase I never thought possible to say. However, those precious 45 minutes sat in my car enjoying the delights of the M62, helped me think about the day ahead, the important calls or meetings scheduled and begin to work through my list of priorities.

Equally, on my commute home at the end of the day, it helped me digest, reflect and process the day, allowing a clear separation from work to home life. I found this time invaluable. Technology allows us all to work with a greater degree of flexibility, something that we have all experienced in recent times. The almost constant connectivity, can for some, make it difficult to truly switch off as we can get bombarded with messages, emails, news alerts 24/7; particularly when operating in a global environment as I do.  

I was keen to understand how others were managing their own mental well-being, what tools they were using or activities they were participating in to try and switch on or off from work, whilst working from home. It seems many have resorted to exercise for help. Stuart Urwin-Mann, Global Procurement Director at Johnson Matthey, relies on daily home gym sessions with his wife and son. Jon Arnott, Head of Sourcing at Rolls Royce, commented that a lunch time workout and the endless energy of an 18-month old at the end of his day give him that clear separation. It’s a shift into games and Lego and feeding a young family that help Nikki Rowbottom, Head of Supply Chain Management at the British Library, ease straight into family life at the end of a busy day.  Patrick Dunne, Director of Group Property, Procurement and Cost Transformation at Sainsburys relies on his trusty notebook at the side of his bed for capturing his ideas and plans for the day and takes a walk straight after work to clear his head.  

Routine was another common theme; people are adjusting their normal working hours to enable them to fit in with family life. Getting up at the same time as normal, but with the absence of a daily commute, allows them to start work far earlier than normal and finish earlier as a consequence.  

Who would have imagined just a few months ago that so many individuals would be working from home, often going against the culture or perception of their company? What this has illustrated is that people can work remotely and be equally, if not more productive.

It also has forced the majority to embrace new ways of working. Fuze, Zoom, Microsoft Teams as well as others, are becoming the norm and vital lifelines for communication in the current climate, helping companies and employees feel a sense of engagement and belonging. These technologies alone have been invaluable in helping people feel connected to the workplace, particularly for those living on their own.

It has also given us a fascinating insight into the living rooms, kitchens and home offices of our colleagues, suppliers and customers. I don’t think I’ve seen my colleagues from other offices more regularly than I have done in the past five weeks.   

This adoption and willingness to embrace new technologies will change workplaces in the future; boards are now assessing not only their corporate footprint but also their travel budget in light of the ease of adapting to video-based platforms.

For me, cycling, gardening and benefit of spending precious time with my family have become the daily routine of relaxing back into family life at the end of the day. The M62 can hold off for a few more weeks yet.  

For more information, please contact Richard Guest is a Principal Consultant in our Procurement and Supply Chain practice.

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