Weeknote 1/2015

Well, my first full working week of 2015 has come to an end and it’s been pretty awesome. I wasn’t going to write a summary but I’m feeling inspired by Chris Thomson’s post. For those of you that don’t know, Jisc’s Customer Experience division has just undergone a huge transformation and I’m now an Account Manager — more on that in a later post. For now I’d like to concentrate on my reflections of being part of a huge change programme and working from home.

Embracing change

For obvious reasons this is a very sensitive area for anyone who has been involved with the changes at Jisc — past and present. I apologise if anything I say causes offence — I’m hopeful it won’t — but I would like to share my reflections and tips for anyone who might go through a similar process in the future.

It’s worth saying up front that my experience was extremely positive and I would like to thank the Jisc team who managed it (they know who they are). However, it was the leadership of my service director and support of the team that really helped. Here are a few notes on what I believe helped make it a smooth process, in order of importance:

  • Transparency. The whole team were extremely open in everything we did (made easier by our organisational culture). We let one another know which jobs we were applying for; we sense checked and proofread applications; we practised and critiqued presentations; and we shared our feelings. I really think this helped us all to improve our writing, presentation and interview skills.
  • Communication. I’ve put communication second because I believe transparency is an enabler of good communication. From a team perspective our Director was excellent in relaying information. Emails were forwarded to the whole team at the same time and when relevant he would hold a face to face meeting to explain his understanding of key messages from Jisc—as well as allowing us to digest and question the information. That time to discuss things as a team was vital.
  • Compromise. As a team I think we accepted that change was a natural part of Jisc’s lifecycle and tried not to take it personally. This made it much easier to accept what was being proposed and allowed for the team to make compromises.
  • Patience. As part of the process employees had to reapply for new roles within the organisation. If you undergo a similar experience be warned that it is an extremely difficult and disconcerting experience—after all, we all have bills to pay and loved ones to provide for. I do believe that it is worth persevering with for as long as possible giving yourself time to assess the best possible scenario for your future. There may well be times when a different offer comes up that you can’t refuse but having some patience can pay dividends.
  • Timings. In line with the above, I think it is very difficult to get the timings right throughout a major restructure. Things either take too long or they’re too short. There were times when I felt frantic, and other times when I wished it would hurry up. Overall, try to implement the change process as quickly as is practical. I was actually amazed the team managed to complete everything within a six month timeframe—hats off to them.

Working from home

My new role is home-based. I’ve thought a lot about working from home in the past and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the opportunity/challenge. As it stands I’m still in the process of creating my office. Here’s some thoughts for now.

  • Routine. I’d really like to get into a routine but I’ve struggled this week—I think partly because my office isn’t really finished and so I’ve been working all over the house. So, this upcoming week I’m going to challenge myself to the following each day (except Thursday when I’ll be travelling):
    • Get up at 06:30.
    • Head out for a short run.
    • Make and have breakfast with the family (and wash up).
    • Catch-up on news and blogs I find interesting before starting work at 09:00.
    • Drinking more water and taking regular breaks.
    • Heading out for a walk during my lunch break.
  • Office. The office is beginning to take shape. All of the painting is now finished (Grey/White theme). I have a chair, a bean bag, a new light shade and I’m currently waiting on my desk (but white, not walnut) to be delivered. As it stands I’ve been using the dining room table as a makeshift desk, moving to the bean bag throughout the day for a change of posture.
  • Equipment. I’m an Apple enthusiast, however, I’ve really enjoyed getting to grips with the equipment we’ve been provided—laptop, Samsung S4, docking station, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I’ve got a problem with the docking station at the moment with zero power so I haven’t been able to utilise that, however the laptop is great, as is the phone. We’re using a range of enterprise software (Horizon for telephony, Sharepoint for document and records management, Office 365 for collaboration and Lync for IM) which is working really well and I’ve never seen Yammer so vibrant. My only issue so far has been with the sound quality over Skype, Horizon and Lync. Having tried Skype on my iMac the sound worked perfectly so I think I need to try a few different scenarios before assuming it’s my connection (BT Infinity).

Early on in the week our team held a face to face meeting which was extremely important in my eyes. Not only did it help everyone to get to know each other; for me, it also helped to remove an initial sense of isolation. I’m excited about the challenges that lie ahead and can’t wait to get into full flow!

Thinking about my time at infoNet I’m gutted we didn’t take more photos, another habit I’m hoping to change.

The new team

The new team

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