Working from home? – No change here…
During the current coronavirus pandemic, social media is awash with articles about how best to adjust to working from home and how to maximise your productivity and avoid pitfalls. At B2E Consulting we have been working remotely since the company was set up in 2004. This is a major part of our operating model and it has not only made us unique but also helped us to achieve our innovative vision:
Breaking the Mould.
We help businesses to deliver their transformation and change programmes efficiently and cost effectively.
We are a team of 25 “partners” (B2E is an employee-ownership trust) and since our inception, all of us have worked from home for at least some of the week, with around 70 percent of the team working entirely from home. In order to help us succeed, we have found that a cohesive company vision has been essential along with using tools and techniques to maximise our “togetherness” and connection. For example, we recently moved to using OneDrive to share files and software like Microsoft Teams is essential for us to plan meetings, weekly team conference calls and share news.
Indeed, some of the informal chats that in the normal office working environment would take place around the watercooler have found a place too in a “Social” Team thread within Microsoft Teams. Bridging these less obvious gaps missed from traditional office-sharing is essential to the well-being of the team and can ultimately help us problem solve, find the best consultants for projects and feel continuously connected.
I have been part of this team for over 4 years and have never felt isolated or alone. We can pick up the phone for a Microsoft Teams call or message our colleagues on a Team Chat at any time. We also have regular meetings and social get-togethers in our office in London and regularly meet our clients face to face. However the home working flexibility offered at B2E is absolutely at the core of our culture and vision.
Indeed, back in July 2017 Nicola Smith in our team wrote a great article “Top Tips for Home Working”. Back then, Nicola’s top tips were:
1. Sort your space and technology
2. Time management and setting targets
3. Find other homeworkers and get social – Okay, definitely good to drop this one temporarily during the current sanctions!
4. Get exercise and sunlight
5. Manage the food
6. Don’t blur home and work
These tips are absolutely still relevant today and you can read more about Nicola’s advice here:
At B2E, we also operate a part-time/ flexible working policy and many of our Partners are working mums who have been Big 5 management consultants in the past. We even have an on-call firefighter in the team, with a consulting background, who combines his work at B2E with fighting fires and keeping people safe. This unique and flexible B2E team shares over 200 years of top tier consulting and over 100 years of business transformation experience between us which makes us uniquely placed to help our clients deliver transformation efficiently and effectively.
The current challenges from the pandemic have resulted in some changes in the consulting world. Our consultants are following government advice and largely working from home. WebEx’s and video calls are being used instead of face to face interviews and client meetings. Inevitably, there continue to be project budget cuts and changing priorities but at the same time, there has also been some good news as well…IR35 private sector reforms postponed for a year!
We will all miss some of the benefits of face to face meetings and conversations (many nuances are lost in texts and emails), but these can and will have to be replaced by video calls, Facetime, WebEx’s and Zoom meetings to ensure these important personal interactions are not lost completely. If there was ever a time to update your technology as a business, to facilitate and encourage home working – it is now.
On that note, following Boris Johnson’s announcement last week regarding school closures, and home-learning starting today, life will be busier at home…but at least with the operating model and processes in place at B2E, I can still work and remain connected.
We want to wish you and your families well over this time and, please do take care and stay safe.
About the author, Julie Crawford
Julie is a Partner at B2E Consulting and has been a homeworker for the last 4+ years with us.
B2E is a ground-breaking, innovative and employee-owned consulting company helping clients to deliver their transformation and change programmes. Prior to working at B2E Julie spent 7 years as a management consultant with Accenture followed by a further 7 years in leadership positions for Carlson Wagonlit Travel. She holds a 1st class Honours’ degree in Marketing and Tourism.