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Paul Strickland
Paul Strickland

Posted on • Originally published at

Year in review – work

There are many things to say about this year. In terms of my job and work, however, there are two main themes I can reflect on:

  1. We made a substantial change to how we worked
  2. The work kept going in much the same way as ever

Changing how we work

We started the year working in the office for the majority of the time, and I would also travel to customer meetings a couple of times a month. By the end of March we found ourselves working from home. Although there were a few teething problems for us, it seems like we adapted remarkably well. Because our business had been predominantly office-based, we had no widely available video chat tools available for the majority of the year, so all of our communication was by phone and email. Some of our more network intensive applications were slow to access through a VPN, but the company adapted the network infrastructure to suit the change and we have had a perfectly usable setup throughout the year. Slow at times, yes, but not often a problem.

Later in the year we had a video chat tool accredited for our use and, to many of us, this was a significant improvement. Although the phone-based communication we had been using was adequate for our needs, adding video made me appreciate the face-to-face element of communication so much more. I would actually feel positive after a video call, just from seeing other people.

The same as it ever was

Despite the changes to how we worked, we spent the year doing the same work and delivered the same amount as we usually do. This had been a concern at first, but I think everyone was surprised at how well we adapted as a company and delivered as well as before.

Delivering in the same way as before was good for the business, but was not without frustration for me at times. When faced with some of the more challenging problems for our customers, I like to explore different, and sometimes novel, ways to provide a useful solution. Unfortunately, there are some people in our team who would rather turn away such work because it's too difficult, or even just too different to normal.

The future

I do not expect there to be any changes to the way we work when I return next year. But continuing in the way we have been doing for the past 9 months is not as daunting for me as I originally thought it might have been. As far as any changes I would like to make, I have not yet decided. Ordinarily I do not commit to resolutions, preferring to make small changes throughout the year instead. But I think a time to reflect on my recent working practice is due, so will give that some thought soon.

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