It’s week four and I’m back around the virtual table with our four Juno friends talking about ‘perfecting their working environment.’This week, the fantastic Vicky Silverton is hosting the session. Vicky is one of our partners on the platform, and the mastermind behind ‘You Need A Vicky’, a decluttering and organising company. We’ve been working with Vicky for a few months now, and it’s wonderful to have her hosting and bringing such expertise to the table. Joining Vicky this week is Juno client Paul Kirkcaldy, Managing Director of Sparrohouse Creative, Dima Najib, Workplace Psychologist and Strategist at Foster & Partners and Tamsin Ward, Head of Brand at Shine For Women. Today the topic focuses on creating the perfect working environment during these uncertain times - whether that’s creating a work space in the kitchen, mentally stimulating your brain or recreating ‘a normal work day’, the episode brings you tips and tricks to master the art of productivity! The episode begins by reflecting on the current climate and how it’s affecting our own wellbeing. ‘
There has to be a realistic level of expectation, you can’t put pressure on yourself to do the home schooling, keep up your schedule, make sure you do all your work and get that yoga session in.’ Vicky starts and she couldn’t be more accurate. ‘It’s so important to call out the fact we are not working from home, we’re working through a crisis in our home,’ Tamsin, Head of Brand at Shine For Woman, ‘the most important thing that will get you through this time is just being human. It’ll take up all your energy trying to mask your current reality.
When you think about wellbeing - just sitting there on an evening and not doing anything is probably, right now, going to be most beneficial for you.’ The episode starts off with a refreshing reminder to be yourself, to embrace this uncertain time and really check in on your wellbeing and mental health. We move on to discuss an optimal working environment at home, whilst maintaining a level of strong wellbeing. For Paul, ways of working haven’t changed too drastically, ‘for us we recognised the changes in the creative industry over the last few years and specifically set up to work remotely. We don’t need an office to do what we do. I don’t need someone to sit at a desk 9 - 6, they can do their work wherever and whenever and still be productive.’ Whilst the culture and way of working for Paul and his company hasn’t seen too much of a shift, mental headspace has understandably become a challenge during lockdown, ‘personally, I’m much more productive if I go and work at the gym, having a few hours of switched-on work, taking time to exercise then back to my working day.’
Working environments have changed for majority of us, and the mental challenge to ‘switch on’ and ‘switch off’ is fast becoming the norm. On top of the that, we’re seeing our day to day jobs changing in order to adapt to our surroundings. Dima, Workplace Psychologist and Strategist at Foster & Partners explains how her role has seen a shift; ‘as part of my role I’m working on a lot of kids initiatives, giving internal advise and generally helping people adjust to their new work setting.’ And, she practises what she preaches, keeping a close check on her productivity but most importantly wellbeing, ‘keeping productive for me is about experimenting with breaks I take throughout the day, mentally switching on and off and creating barriers, all work remains on the dining room table. Even the simple act of pushing the dining room table away after I’ve finished working - immediately I recognise that, that’s it - work is over!
The conversation flowed and it was clear to see that whilst adjusting to new workspaces and adapting with day to day jobs were both important for the people around the table, wellbeing and positivity were number 1. Hangout and Zoom might have been a laborious concept at first, but it’s now the norm, with Tamsin admitting ‘I’ve got to know my clients and partners more by not seeing them face to face - now I’ve seen what their house is like and I’ve even met their cat!’
It’s hard to see through the uncertain blur and keep focused on what is to come, but I left this table feeling enthusiastic, positive and oddly excited for the inevitable challenges ahead. Vicky rounded the conversation , encouraging us all to ‘use this time to pause and get creative,’ with Dima mirroring her thoughts, ‘I hope we can take this opportunity to empower ourselves and think differently from an individual to an organisational level.’