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June 29, 2020

Channel Team on Homeworking during Covid-19

On March 23rd 2020 Channel Comms closed its office doors to begin homeworking during the worldwide Pandemic, Covid-19. Schools have been closed, sports events cancelled and cultural institutions shut around the world as countries try to stem the coronavirus outbreak. But behind the scenes a strong workforce at Channel helped many businesses stay open by providing Cloud solutions. Enabling thousands to work from home with little to no disruption, that’s why we call it Smart Working.

It’s been 3 months and here is what some of the Channel Team had to say.

By Hollie Boyd

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David Bevan – Director

As someone who previously spent the majority of work-time at the office, working from home initially took some adjusting to. After a week or so, I waved an emotional goodbye to the dining table and moved into my very own office (aka the spare bedroom).

Since then it’s been great. Having a space to work from comfortably, and with all the necessary technology, has resulted in a more productive environment than ever. Our fantastic cloud phone system (I’m biased, of course) has meant I can keep in touch with the team, customers and suppliers without disadvantage.

Reflecting on my own experience, I would say it is important to remember to clock-off and enjoy some of the extra leisure time that comes with not having to commute to and from the office.
Above all else, I am extremely grateful to the wonderful team we have at Channel. Each and every one of my colleagues has adapted brilliantly to a very sudden change in working circumstances, whilst continuing to provide outstanding service to our customers.

Like many other organisations, I’m sure the events of recent months will permanently change the way we work, for the better.

Nick Boulton – Sales Director

Working from home after years of working mainly from an office and on the road at meetings with customers and new clients has been surreal!

There is a lot of will power needed to work in an organised fashion each day which helps you become productive and efficient. At my left hand is my to do list today and in my right hand is my first coffee of the morning, ready steady go here we go again you have got this!

I think I may have broken a few records in the last three months for Zoom calls, Microsoft Team meetings, Channel Cloud video calls and the dreaded webinars have been coming thick and fast. I take great pride that I have not been one of those people caught out in video calls in their pyjamas, dressing gowns or swearing not realising their microphone is on, oh the joys of modern technology.
It has been very rewarding seeing all the staff at Channel adapting incredibly well to adopt the new approach of being home based and embracing the technology we supply to other organisations but have not always used ourselves!

I have managed to get more cycling in during this period of working from home as there has been less commuting, which has also been a great excuse to buy more bike kit. Can you own to much Lycra clothing? I don’t think so, but I am sure my kids and wife would beg to differ!

Roll on the first social gathering for the Channel Comms team (All rules will be observed!) they fully deserve us spoiling them and letting them know what a bunch of superstars they have been.

Adam Hacker – Service Director

The last three months seem to have flown by; it’s been a busy period for the Service Team helping our clients adjust to working from home whilst trying to adjust ourselves! The Channel Cloud platform has made the transition much easier, The Collab interface had made communication easy with full presence meaning everyone knows what we are all up to, Video calls have helped keep the team together making sure we all get the social interaction we need!

Working from home has been interesting especially with a heavily pregnant wife! But we have all coped well, with everyone giving the usual 110%. I would like to think our customers haven’t even noticed we’re not in the office!

Claire Rhodes – Networks Manager

Normally when working from home I would set up at the dining room table, however we’ve had to make some changes to make full time WFH home easier and more comfortable, so I now have desk in the dining room which means that I have a proper work space and don’t have to clear everything away so that we can eat. Sometimes I get a desk buddy when the children are home from school which is nice 😊. Also helps that the room was decorated just before we locked down so no more paint peeling on the walls!

Overall, having nearly all of us working remotely has been a really positive experience, I thought it may be more tricky but I guess that we are lucky to be in the right industry to have the knowledge of the technology to do it. Undoubtedly the Channel Cloud phone system has made this transition much easier. Although, I do miss my work colleagues it’s good working remotely and there are certainly less distractions so you can concentrate on the task at hand more easily. It’s also been good not to have the travelling to & from the office, and I have never been so grateful for the school run – just for a reason to be able to go out!

Jayne Boulton – Networks Team

Once upon a time I had a fairly tidy house, now there seems to be cables, extension leads, computers, Xboxes and family members everywhere! I’m set up in the spare room and got creative with a decorating table which is now my desk. Luckily, Channel took the reins with transferring the rest of the office to home and I have access to everything I need to do my job. The Channel Cloud system has really been vital to keeping the office open.

I have never worked from home before and have found it quite tricky sometimes – however, the sunshine has definitely helped – it’s been great to sit outside for lunch! I also like the flexibility of working from home – I’ve been able to exercise by helping with “pharmacy runs” for the local community.
I do feel like I have a sense of purpose when actually going to work in the office and the days seem more varied. I’m certainly missing the people, banter and obviously all the cakes that are always on offer!

During lockdown I’ve enjoyed spending a lot more time with the kids before they go off to University and travelling and of course the dog. She is going to miss us so much when things return to some sort of normality – we are definitely going to need a full time office dog!

Lauren Somers – Networks Team

I am enjoying working from home. It has taken a bit of getting used to and I have faced various challenges, but it now feels like the new normal. My 9-month-old puppy has enjoyed my 24/7 company and its nice to have him by my side day in day out. I have used lockdown to become more creative in the kitchen, baking cakes and cooking new recipes for my partner and I. My lunch breaks now consist of walking the dog and getting chores done around the house. Which has freed up my evenings so I can spend them with family and friends

Sarah Gazzard – Project Coordinator

It has now been three months since Channel moved to working from home – the same amount of time that I’d been at Channel before lockdown began! I cannot believe how quickly that time has passed.

As someone who has never worked from home before (I cannot recall even doing it for a few hours), if I’m honest, I was quite apprehensive at the idea. Still feeling quite new I was worried how I would fare on my ‘own’ – but it has been so much better than I had anticipated. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone to colleagues, even if half of those phone calls are prefaced with “sorry, I just want to check” or “I know I’ve asked this before!”

It will be nice to get back to the office when we can, I miss the quick ‘how was your weekend?’ catch ups on a Monday and the laughs that come from working as a group in the same place.

Spending more time at home has meant our garden is looking better than ever – a good thing as I work in the conservatory staring out at it for hours a day – and my to-be-read pile has decreased dramatically (or it would have done, if I hadn’t ordered so many books to replace those finished!)

Nicola Stephens – Accounts Administrator

So for me working during lockdown has not really changed, I’ve enjoyed coming into the office as it has broken the week up and working in finance it’s been just as busy.

I’ve missed my colleagues – but not making all the tea & coffee!

I’ve had to adapt to working on my own which I haven’t done since my children were little – having the radio for company has made all the difference.
Outside of the office I have spent a lot more time walking and running around the beautiful countryside that we are lucky enough to live by. Our dog Toby has enjoyed it the most I think.

Oh and I discovered snapchat!!

Andy Roberts – System Engineer

I actually like working from home but I have found it somewhat up and down.

Ups: that’s an easy one, I don’t have a long commute and sit in rush hour traffic.

Downs: I have to make my own coffee!!

Lockdown has changed me from a visual perspective too; I’ve shaved my hair off and grown a beard.
My wife is a hairdresser, so you’d think she would keep me trim but hey, doing it was my way of rebelling! Although I have a dedicated “office” at home, I’ve found myself sat in my conservatory most days making the most of the weather. I do think working from home will become the new “norm” for a lot of people, so being able to help others get set up has felt rewarding, it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside – although that might be my dodgy coffee!

On the whole, working from home has been great but I do miss the office banter and my dog just doesn’t appreciate my humour!

Gareth Spencer – Systems Engineer

It’s been 94 days since lockdown…… feels like 94 years.
They say time flies when you’re having fun…….good job I’ve installed minesweeper.

Working from home has been a great experience, I’m certainly more focused and productive (that’s the lie I’ve told my boss and I’m sticking with it)

The biggest challenge so far is training my new secretary to answer my calls and respond to emails.
I think she enjoys it, but she much prefers to cuddle on her blanky and watch me work.
This is Meggie, my 10yr old pupper who has been keeping me company for all my workdays from home. She likes fussings behind the ear, long walks in the park and the occasional biscuit when no one’s looking.

Using my commuting time in the morning to walk my girl keeps her happy 🙂

I’m looking forward to the end of the lockdown, to get back in the gym and more importantly back in the pub.

P.S. she doesn’t make a good secretary

Luke Withey – Systems Engineer

Lockdown, day 94.

I have forgotten where the office is, grown a beard and a mullet to match. The new uniform is great too, shorts/joggers and T-shirt!

Being a field based engineer I am quite used to working from different locations but have settled in well working from home.
It’s fair to say I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’m fortunate enough to already have an “office” setup at home so have been reasonably comfortable here (it’s close to the fridge).

Everybody at Channel has adapted well and the workflow is good.
I do miss the daily commute from time to time though and miss seeing everybody in the office.

Sam Ryall – Systems Engineer

Working from home has been a great experience for me, I have gained an extra hour and half in my day as I don’t need to commute to the office anymore! I would like that I have used this extra time to become healthier but that would be a flat out lie. I set my alarm every day for 06:30am and snooze right up until 08:00am…I roll out of bed, grab some breakfast and setup my ‘office’, in my room of choice for that day. Being an engineer means a constant cycle of learning new technologies so having some extra time to spend on reading and testing new tech. It is a big help, although I don’t think my partner appreciates the extra time I spend “playing”. Without the use of the native teleworking solutions that Channel specialise in it would have been a far more uncomfortable transition. Looking forward to seeing everyone again and having a good long chat with a beer in hand.

P.S. I’m starting work on turning my garage into a long-term office space for the future, watch this space for images in the coming months!

Peace out, Sam ‘IP’ Ryall

Trevor Lifely – Senior Sales Consultant

At Channel, we take part in regular conferences on our cloud-based system which has helped retain the day to day office banter. During lockdown, I have missed the face to face contact with my colleagues and the endless amounts of cakes! I look forward to getting back into the office with everyone soon.

I’ve worked from home for a number of years so I’m fully kitted out with my home office but that was only for 1-2 days per week with visits to the office and client meeting every week as well. It’s very different though working from home permanently during lockdown.

For the first couple of months it was fine, no commuting and very busy but now we are coming up to month 4 its becoming a bit groundhog day! I would now really appreciate getting out of home and into the office -some variation.

My work day starts with a video call with colleagues which is a great way to start the day and then carry on with your work for the rest of the day.

Afterwork its cycling gear on, and then out on the road or mountain bike and up the Mendips, I’ve never been fitter !!

When we are permitted to return to some form of normal, I think a balance between home & office would work really well, I cant wait !

    • Mark Gains – Business Development Consultant

It has been easy to communicate with my colleagues while I am on furlough, with the excellent video conferencing system through Channel Comms Ltd.

This is the longest time I have been home in many years and my home has never been cleaner!

The positive aspects of lockdown has been all the training videos, walking, cycling and weight training. I have even been able to achieve and losing weight because of it, I also managed to do my first artwork in over 25 years for my mums 80th Birthday.

I am looking forward to seeing my colleagues face to face in the near future and getting back to work as soon as possible.

Hollie Boyd – Sales and Marketing Coordinator

I always envied people who worked from home. No daily commute sat in traffic or waiting for the bus. No walking into the office with frizzy hair and wet feet from the rain. I would eat healthier as ‘Karen’ hadn’t brought in another tasty cake for us all to enjoy. Dinner would be ready in a timely manner and it would be balanced and colourful – not beans on toast before bed. We would skip into school like those organised ‘together’ mums you see on the school runs. I would join a book club with those ‘together’ mums and discuss Agatha Christie over cheese and wine. In fact, I would have so much spare time in the evenings I would take up yoga or Pilates, maybe even synchronised swimming! What a dream.

Reality is very different. I began lockdown writing a blog for Channel on how we must continue our daily routine. Walking round the block to clear our minds and dressing as if we were in the office. Full faces of makeup for the daily video calls with colleagues – how keeping up the routine was crucial for me. It’s now day 94 and I don’t think my colleagues have seen me out of a tracksuit for weeks. I doubt they will recognise me with a full face of makeup on when we finally get together in the office. Home schooling has been a challenge too. I remember saying in school ‘when will I ever use Pythagoras’ theorem’ – well I expect Mr Richardson got the last laugh there. I have also kept the local takeaway’s in business, but I feel that was me giving back to local businesses during difficult times, you know, community spirit and all that! I will continue to give back to local businesses by spending double the money on PT sessions.

I could write about home working being an enlightening, educational experience and I am simply sensational at it. But that wouldn’t be true. It’s been exciting, it’s been valuable but it’s also been really tough. My team have been incredibly supportive and we’ve had some really exciting brainstorming sessions, which may not of happened in the office. We have also had game nights and played ‘2 lies and 1 truth’ which taught me more than I would ever want to know about some of my colleagues.

It’s safe to say day 10 ‘me’ and day 94 ‘me’ are 2 very different people.

Of course, working in telecoms also enabled me to access my work instantly at home and stay connected with colleagues and customers. Logging into my laptop at home was no different to being in the office. The innovative technology Channel continue to provide will never cease to amaze me – call a Channel expert for more information 😉

But to wrap this up I can safely say I am no longer envious of the full-time home worker, I salute you all!