Going back one year to February 2020, I would have never imagined what was about to happen. I was – and probably I still am – in love with the City of London. I love its narrow alleys, its old buildings which seem ready to tell a unique story of trade and people from all over the world. I love its corners and squares, the coffee shops. Hence, it’s not hard to believe that, at the beginning of March 2020, as the Government announced the first lockdown advice, I felt somehow in despair. Yes, I knew what was coming – but I wasn’t emotionally prepared for that!
I must admit: I was worried about the transition to “Remote First” – will I be able to focus at home? Will my internet connection support or fail me? (Spoiler, it often failed me) And what about human connections? Yet fast forward one year and I now have to admit that I was wrong. Yes, moving to a remote first environment was a drastic change. However, I felt that we did not experience any disruptions. In fact, all things considered, I must say that from my point of view, WFH did deliver some great benefits.
In fact, the lockdown was the perfect situation to showcase the benefits of an Agile organisation: nimble, flexible, adapting and embracing change, making the most out of any situation, constantly learning. First and foremost, I was positively impressed by the fact that our culture was not only protected but it became even stronger. The most remarkable testament to that was the fact that the people who joined the company during the first lockdown integrated so well – so much that it now feels like they have been with us forever. Even more remarkably I met them in person just once, in August/September as the lockdown eased and despite social distancing, we just clicked as if we were old colleagues.
Secondly the other big benefit was time. Before, I used to spend 1.25 hour every day to commute door-to-door. Now that time has dropped to zero. The result is that it has been repurposed to learning and thinking. It is not by chance that this has been one of my most prolific years in terms of courses and professional development, including the successful completion of the Oxford Fintech Programme in December.
Furthermore, the “Remote First” option has had the benefit to broaden our horizons: now, thanks to technology, we are not bound to the physical office and, as such, we are free to move farther away from London than was possible beforehand. Yes, I’ve said that I love the City of London, but I love the countryside even more! I’m considering moving to the country as it’s an opportunity which is simply too good to waste! Fnality has supported the transition in so many ways – Zoom Pro accounts (no more 45 minute limits!) and a generous work from home budget that surely helped in smoothing the transition.
In conclusion, one year has passed from March 2020, the moment we realised that the pandemic had reached the UK shores, but I am happy to say that we not only adapted, but we thrived. Yes, there have been ups and downs and I do miss the city centre. Yet not so much anymore. The whole experience – including handmade bagels and self-prepared coffee - has been good and the benefits that WFH brings are far reaching. And these benefits, like a genie, once out, cannot be easily placed back into the bottle! Hence, dear 2021, we are ready to face you head on (via zoom, of course)!
Ph. Credits: Jason Strull on Unsplash