Remote WGN: the good, the bad and the future

Remote work has always been part of the WGN’s flexible arrangements - but we’d never experienced a 100% remote team before.

March 13th 2020 was the beginning of our complete shift to working from home in response to COVID-19. These two months have been an important period for us to go through ups and downs, and to think about what the new normal could look like. So we interviewed some Wagoneers to share their views. Here’s what we found.

Human time, please

Every Wagoneer we interviewed is enjoying spending more time with their  family, partners and kids - from having lunch all together to catching up for a quick coffee break, working from home seems to be giving family life a boost.

My lunch break at BRND WGN in the middle of a busy day used to be 10 minutes long. Now I get to spend a whole hour with my family, which is fantastic.

Gareth, CFO, home with wife and 3 kids

Wagoneers with kids are being extra careful to strike a balance between work and family commitments. Taking turns to look after the children seems to be doing the trick for some!

My husband and I share our schedules with each other, especially when it comes to meetings, so that we ensure at least one of us is with our daughter.

Lara, Head of Communications and CX, home with husband and toddler

At the same time, some of us are missing the spontaneousness of spending time together in the same office - yet we’ve come up with a few solutions to tackle this, such as an extra weekly general catch-up and the introduction of virtual water cooler talks within the design team. Some Wagoneers are even setting up their own ‘virtual office’ by working together while on the same video call.

Routine makes the difference

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of remote work is ‘Yessss, no more commute time’. We all agreed that an extra half hour to stay in bed or enjoy breakfast and coffee is something we are truly appreciating. However, that commute is a way for some to slowly bring your mind in and out of ‘work mode’.

The commute from work to home used to be my gap to mentally untangle from work by the time I get home. But thanks to remote working, I’ve been able to play around more with time.

Matt, Designer, home with girlfriend

With boundaries blurring between office time and home time, some of us find it useful to maintain a routine, stick with specific times and find a slot for different activities. We are also enjoying keeping fit and healthy, as well as dedicating the weekend to creative activities and DIY.

At the end of the week, I remove my work setup from my living room and I spend any free time at home on creative projects, planning and housework — feeling more positive and refreshed.

Marlis, Traffic Manager, home with husband

Proactive and Productive

So what about getting actual work done? The main feedback here is that everyone feels more productive. Being all in the same situation, we have reported even more willingness to help each other out and make ourselves prompt and available to move work forward, within the team and with our clients.

Online meetings and virtual presentations have been great time-savers. In my role, I always ensure that both the client and our creatives are comfortable with remote arrangements.

Elaine, Project Manager, home with parents and brother

Some people feel the pressure of delivering great work while dealing with distractions and some miss the immediate feedback you get when you’re all in the same room. However, being tech-ready, reaching out to colleagues for support and choosing a quick phone call over a Slack message when needed, have made communication smoother and more effective.

What about the future WGN?

All our interviewees agree that a healthy mix of office and home work should be the way forward. With everyone having different characters, home arrangements and work mantras, the best version of the ‘new normal’ WGN would be one that caters for everyone’s needs and ensures that work is done in the best possible way. With new arrangements, but the same Wagoneer values - putting people, passion, and process first.

How is your company finding remote work? Reach out to our Head of People Chris Knights for advice on your remote arrangements: