We hear a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’. There are still uncertainties about how the world will look in years to come, but we do know that things are very different from 2019. As we approach the festive period, it’s a time for reflection and for many people and businesses to take stock of the lessons learnt from the last year and a half. Many of us are keen to return to how things were before, but others are embracing a new way of living and working. We thought we would take this opportunity to tell you how things are going over here at Wise, and what the ‘new normal’ looks like for us.
Wise is first and foremost concerned about putting you first and looking after your investments. We believe that in order to do that, we need to also look after our employees (who are also the owners of the business).
In March 2019, we all headed home with whatever essentials we needed to work from home for what we thought would be a few weeks, at most. Between lockdowns, and as the rules changed, a few people returned to the office, and we now have some who come in regularly. Our Administrators and Business Assistants have been running a shift pattern to ensure that some people are always in the office, while minimizing the risk of the whole team catching Covid.
We have a committee to manage our return to work as the expectation of getting back into the office draws nearer. We found that many of our employees enjoy working at home – they like being able to focus, be in their own space and enjoy the benefits of no commute, which is better for the environment as well as giving people more free time. Some people prefer working in the structure and environment of the office and many have missed the social aspects during their time at home. There are some jobs that are simply harder to do at home and in some cases we have found collaboration harder to manage.
In planning our office return, our conclusion has been to balance our employees’ preferences with the company’s needs. In essence, we don’t mind where someone does their work as long as they are doing it, and it doesn’t cause unnecessary challenges for other teams. We have started remodelling the office to include a bank of hot desks, whilst some desks will be assigned permanently to those who want to come in every day. Each team has different needs and are setting their own schedule for when they will come into the office – some teams will be in once a week, some once a fortnight and other teams will have people in every day or only come in when needed. We have always had a monthly company meeting which everyone attends. This will continue, and since some of us may only cross paths on this day, we have expanded the meeting to include some social time, a spot of lunch and maybe the odd training session. Our arrangements will be kept under review and may change during busy periods, during projects or to allow flexibility at home.
As our client, you are unlikely to notice any difference from before. We have the technology to continue to run as if we are all in the same building at the same time. Your personal contacts at the company will remain the same. We will continue to offer you virtual meetings as we have during the pandemic, but we are also very happy to offer face to face meetings either in our office or a location that suits you.
No one could have predicted the changes resulting from the pandemic, but we truly believe the changes we have adopted only strengthen the quality of service we are able to offer you.