Tuesday 16 March 2021

A Year Remote

Today (16th March 2021) marks the one year anniversary of BrightGen pivoting to a fully remote workforce. We knew it was possible, as we'd carried out a trial run the week before, but we didn't know how well it would scale, or indeed how long it would last for. It's pretty safe to say that none of us were expecting it to go on this long! The scaling worked surprisingly well - people's internet connection held up, kitchens and bedrooms were pressed into service as home offices, and we onboarded new joiners pretty seamlessly. Not perfect, and not everyone's first choice, but it was a very smooth transition.

For some, including me, the biggest challenge is stopping working from home turning into residing at your office. When you live and work in the same space, the boundaries become blurred, and if you have few distractions (because you are in the middle of a pandemic lockdown maybe) then it's easy to start working as soon as you get up and not stop until well into the evening. It's also easy to end up in a state of always on, where you check your email and instant messages every waking hour and jump straight into solving problems. This really can't scale, so you have to keep reminding yourself to take breaks and to set a time to switch off. The BrightGen team have done a great job of providing distractions, including virtual coffee breaks to mix us up and get us talking, pub and Kahoot quizzes, Taskmaster and more.

In the UK the vaccine rollout it is going surprisingly well, and confidence is growing that we will be able to open up the country on the government's target timeline including, at some point, our offices. This present us with an opportunity that doesn't come along too often - to redefine how work gets done. We've blown it all up for the last year, so we should spend some time thinking about how we can put it back together for everyone's benefit. The good news (in my opinion) is that simply going back to the way we worked before isn't going to happen. The genie is out of the bottle!

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