The Year of Working From Home

It’s safe to say 2020 was definitely the year of working from home, if you had the ability to work from home, you probably were working from home for a big chunk of the year. If you read the press, pretty much any news outlet, everyone says that working from home was an overwhelmingly positive experience and there wasn’t a lot of detractors from it. We’ve been running a bunch of tests at Talk this year. We obviously were working from home when it was mandated by the government for a number of months.

Then we moved to a hybrid model. We spent some time at home, some time in the office. Then we spent another month working completely in the office. We wanted to take our time to develop our understanding of this whole working from home, working from the office, and working in a hybrid situation, because we wanted to make decisions based on what was best for our business, not what was mandated by the Government or what was trendy at the time. Of course, we’re following all Government guidelines, but, you know, there’s an extension beyond that of thinking beyond COVID and thinking about the longer-term ramifications of working from home.

The jury is still out on how Talk will operate in this new sort of way of thinking long term. In the medium term, we’ve got a hybrid model going where we have a remote team in Brazil, and in the U.K., they work exclusively from home. And then in Australia, we have a team that works two days a week from the office and then three days a week from home. We’ve sort of covered off how we’ve conducted those experiments in more detail and how we’ve landed on what we’ve landed on in other content. But something that we’ve been talking about a little bit more is everyone’s personal feelings about where we’ve landed. And I guess mine as a business owner is a little bit different to the broader Talk team who don’t necessarily run the business.

I struggle to work from home. Anyone who’s got young kids probably attests to some of the challenges of working with young kids around the house. And also my personality type is bent towards the sales world, being extroverted, being outgoing. I generally will feed off the energy that is generated very naturally in a collaborative office environment, which makes working from home a struggle for me, if I’m really honest with you. If you benchmark that against, say, our creative’s, who generally are introverts and focused on deep work, where often I’ll be focused on shallow work and spread across a higher number of tasks. They’ve done some of their best work at home and have been the most productive from a professional setting. And at the same time, they’ve been happier than ever. They’ve had higher levels of workplace satisfaction, job satisfaction. They’ve had a better work-life balance.
That’s a pretty dynamic operating environment when you have different personalities inside a business and you’re trying to cater to those personalities, there’s always going to be fallout. No one’s ever going to get everything they want. But it’s really, what it’s really about at the moment is identifying the core groups of personality types that you have in your business and then matching a working model to the broadest cross-section of those personality types possible.