The Home Working Network
By Lorna Baldry
Things have changed for many of us recently, when a large number of people were suddenly required to work from home. When the Covid-19 pandemic brought new requirements for social distancing it brought with it new ways of working.
Brightlink work remotely, from home offices as a team and with our clients and learners, we have worked this way since we began to work together in 2015. We think we’re quite good at supporting each other and our learning community, at a distance and we’ve got lots to share so others can too. We use technology and people power to help build community, stay connected, build and nurture good relationships.
We’re helped by our partners at Heroes to support people and organisations to communicate well, take care of each other and avoid isolation through our courses and services.
When we saw people facing challenges to work in this way that was very different for them, we wanted to bring them together to support each other and share their skills and experiences.
We began offering Home Working Network check ins and check outs in March. We run check ins on a Monday at 9.30am and check outs on a Friday at 12pm. Both are offered via the Zoom video conferencing platform. Based on demand from our regular attendees we’ve also set up a Home Working Network Facebook group.
At Brightlink we work restoratively, it’s one of the ways we manage to stay connected even though we’re physically apart.
As a key part of working restoratively we check in and check out. If we were sitting in the same space, we’d be sat in a circle and using a talking piece.
The person holding the talking piece would talk and everyone else would listen.
In video conferences, we make this work in a different way.
We check in to find out who we are with and how they are. To get to know each other and to connect our thoughts and feelings. It helps us to be present in the moment, to focus and begin. Whether it’s beginning the meeting or beginning our week.
Checking out is a way to get closure, to reflect on and relive the best bits of an activity/ day or week and then to move forwards. It’s a great way to end a week of working from home and get ready for the weekend.
We check out of every meeting, lesson or training session and then we also check out of the working week.
On Mondays during our check in hour, I lead the group through some planning and preparation. On a Friday Tammi Owen, from Heroes helps us leave the week behind and set boundaries between work and personal time to keep us well and as productive as it’s possible to be while staying healthy.
In all the online meetings and in our Facebook group, we share conversation and challenges and we also share some very practical tips and tools.
We connect with each other to share support and encourage each other during this time when things are a bit different to the usual routine. If you’re an old hand at working from home and you have some great tips, techniques and routines, come along and share them.
If you’re new to working from home, whether you’re enjoying it or not finding it easy, come and see what everyone else is doing and pick up a plan.
The meetings online are an informal chat about who we are, what we do, our plan to work from home for the week and how we’re taking care of ourselves, our families, our communities and our work. We share why communication and connectedness are so important when working remotely, for business but also more importantly for wellbeing. Family around you are welcome, pets are welcome, even coughing and sneezing are allowed!
People can sign up for a ticket through Eventbrite via Brightlink social media so we know they’d like to come and we’ll send a link to click on and join us. All you need is access to the internet.
The Home Working Network check ins and check outs are completely free and open to everyone and always will be, we’d love to see you there.