The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a mass adoption of home working. Hannah Meads considers what the future of the profession will look like
Whether we like to admit it or not, working from home -- and flexible working in general -- has always had stigma associated with it. It has been debatable as to whether it is right for us as a profession, largely due to the face-to-face nature of our business, priding ourselves on the history of our marketplace.
However, in the last few months, we have all been forced into a situation where the majority, if not all, of the working week has been from home. I'm proud to say that, as a profession, we've done a brilliant job at adapting -- probably more so than most of us imagined possible. We have been accommodating and understanding that our clients and colleagues have their own personal circumstances to deal with.
There have certainly been some positives to working from home, too. I have saved a small fortune in travel costs (and from not visiting Pret every single day) and am enjoying the flexibility that working from home brings, like taking a 10-minute break on our balcony to sit in the sun with a coffee. I feel happier having been forced to slow down and, personally, my work/life balance has dramatically improved.
But working from home isn't always easy, especially during a pandemic. I miss my colleagues. Despite setting up regular team calls and making every effort to catch up virtually, it's not quite the same. Negotiating space (especially for those who are in a one-bed flat like me) can be challenging -- let alone when two of you are trying to work.
Arguably, the biggest challenge is separating work from home life. Stressful work situations are now part of our home environment, without having that physical office space to 'leave it at work'. And without having a commute, or 'set' working hours, it's easy to justify staying logged in for an extra hour or two.
It's left me wondering what the 'new normal' will look like when we can finally return to work. We've proved we can successfully work from home -- and done properly, this new way of working could revolutionise businesses and have a positive impact on our lives. In turn, I have a new-found appreciation for the office and look forward to a change of scenery.
I am excited for what the future of our profession will look like. In an ideal world, a balance between home and office would likely suit most of us, with trust and flexibility from our employers on how and where we work, as we continue to service our clients to the highest standard.
We can still respect the traditions of our market, but being able to adapt to change will mean we can continue to improve on the service we deliver.
Here's to the future and to the new normal.
Hannah Meads is broker at Miller Insurance