Today is the 1st of July, and it’s the start of a new financial year. So it seems time to talk about the start of the way forward for Gaia Resources.
We’ve been working from home for some time under the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and erring on the side of caution when it comes to looking after each other, and doing our bit to protect the broader community. As part of this, we’ve been talking for a while now about “the way forward”, and it’s deliberately not being called a “return” as already mentioned in our last update blog on coronavirus. That sentiment still stands – there are a few things that have been positive for us out of this terrible situation.
So we thought it was worth taking a moment to recap on a few of the things in our “way forward”.
Working from home
On a very personal note, when we started working from home, I really disliked it – I’ve been working hard to create a work/life separation for my own mental health, and this felt like a step backwards. However, after being in it, a new way of working (with better boundaries) has been created and I now really enjoy working from home. That’s been borne out by our team as well, who’ve been continuing to fill out our daily polls, with the values ticking along as below on the weekly averages.
Our graphs showing the weekly “mental health check”, the “productivity check” and the “productivity indicator” that we have developed – fed through from our daily polls.
So we will all be working from home for some part of the working week, due to reasons such as:
- quality of life – we spend less time commuting, and more time being able to be part of our families,
- reduction in financial cost – catching buses and the like to work does cost money – this is something we’ve all noticed we’re saving during the pandemic, and
- reduction in environmental cost – commuting also costs the environment, through emissions from transport (even with public transport).
We even did a straw poll of how much carbon emissions have been saved by our team during the pandemic, and we’ll post more about that in due course. We are also looking at the savings that we’ve made from the decreased travel; previously I’ve spent a fair amount of time on aeroplanes, and despite our use of carbon offsets for all of that air travel, that still produces carbon. This is a big enough topic that I’ll save it until we’ve finished our calculations to see how much of a positive impact working from home will have on the environment.
The use of online meetings has certainly reduced our carbon footprint and our local travel time, but does have some drawbacks – although I have to say, I’ve noticed those are getting less as time goes on, as everyone gets more in tune with using remote meeting technology and we’d like to keep using this too.
We made the decision a couple of years ago to embrace co-working (such as FLUX, our Perth hosts) for the flexibility and opportunity that it presented – and that’s been an excellent move. As restrictions lessen we’re starting to spend time back in our office spaces again, although we will be moving our Brisbane office to find a space that better suits our growing team (more on that soon, too).
Our office arrangements will change across the board in the next few months as we adjust to the other approaches outlined above – ending up with a mixture of desk sharing and permanent desks.
Keeping to health guidelines
We’ve also noticed how much healthier we are working from home, with the guidelines around health in place (more hand washing, physical distancing, etc). So this is something that we will definitely keep in the way forward as well – encouraging this sort of public health will mean that there is less illness in our offices. We’ll also be keeping quarantine rules that we’re running now around not coming to the office spaces when we’re sick – but also staying away from our office spaces, commuting and the like until we’re symptom-free.
We’re still working through the challenges of commuting on public transport; the 1.5m physical distancing public health guideline is really difficult to keep on public transport and there are quite differing opinions on whether public transport is really safe. But for now, at least for our Western Australian office, public transport is back on the cards, and our team are using it as long as they feel safe to do so when they do come in – otherwise, they keep working from home.
There are a range of challenges in the future for us – making sure people have the best setup possible in their home offices, striking the balance of working from home and being productive, and all that. But so far, there are also some positive things coming from this situation.
We’re here and happy to talk about our experiences, either through an email to me directly or via our social media feeds on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. In the meantime, stay safe, healthy and happy.