Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in March 2020, many people have been working differently to normal. Replacing face-to-face meetings, travelling, and office working are makeshift desks in living rooms, Zoom calls and a more virtual way of working. With the recent Government guidance advising office workers to work from home over the winter if they are able to, it looks as though for many of us, this will be the ‘new normal’ until at least spring 2021.
We decided to speak to some of the staff at Dementia UK to find out more about their role, how they have adjusted to this new way of working over the past six months, and what they see the future of office working to be. We spoke to Josanne Richardson, Corporate Partnerships Executive.
How long have you been working at Dementia UK?
Why did you want to work for Dementia UK?
I have a connection to the cause. My grandad had dementia, and I remember my last conversation with him. He didn’t realise who I was, and kept asking me the same questions. I realised that seeing him was for my own benefit at that stage and I didn’t want to confuse him anymore. That was three years before he died. If we had an Admiral Nurse explaining to us what he was going through, I might have been able to visit him again and know I was answering his questions in a way that helped him, and not worry that I was confusing him more.
What is a typical working day for you like?
Busy. My role is split between supporting existing corporate partners and finding new ones. I’m constantly making connections with people. At the moment it’s a lot of emails, phone calls, and video chats all day long.
What is your favourite part about working for Dementia UK?
Knowing that we’re providing support to families who need us most. I know what that need feels like.
Before coronavirus, how often were you working in the office?
I wasn’t! I joined Dementia UK in May 2020. I’m based in Yorkshire, so the plan was to work from home three days a week, and work from the Leeds Building Society office (our new corporate partner) for two days a week. In my last job I worked from home too. I was so excited to be commuting again and to have a desk in an office. So far I’ve worked from Leeds once.
How are you working now?
At the moment I’m 100% at home. I moved house this summer though when the lockdown lifted, so I do have a new home office space.
What do you enjoy about working from home?
Being able to make fresh lunches and coffee. We have the best coffee machine at home. We buy our beans from a local company who roasts them in Sheffield, and the machine grinds them as we make a cup. It’s better than any coffee shop!
How do you stay motivated while working from home?
Honestly, some days it’s really hard to motivate yourself. As I mentioned, at my last charity I worked from home too (for two and a half years), but at least I could still go out for face-to-face meetings then to break the day up. Our core working hours are 10am-4pm at Dementia UK, and I’m a morning person. I find logging on at 7.30am and finishing at 4pm really works for me, as that’s when I’m most productive. This week I’ve set myself up in the dining room as a change of scenery from my home office.
Do you live with anyone else and does this impact you working from home?
Yes, my partner owns his own company and his work dried up during lockdown. When I moved in he gave me his home office (permanently!), and any work he did have was done from the dining table. He was my barista, chef, and house keeper over the summer which was amazing. His work has really picked up again and he’s out of the house most days now (so I have to make my own coffee again!)
What do you miss most about working in an office?
The banter and feeling of connection. You don’t really have the same level of chit-chat when you’ve blocked out 30 mins for a video call on a specific topic. And there’s no opportunity to chat to people from other teams, who you would talk to in the office kitchen area while making a drink.
How has your team worked together throughout the pandemic?
I’m so lucky to have a good internet connection at home! I keep in touch with my team through video chats, and I haven’t had any awful freezing moments – yet. Having all our work on SharePoint is great as everything we need to use/access is in one place.
What do you see the future of office working being?
I see working locations being very flexible, mixing working from home with being in the office. I see people hot-desking rather than having their own permanent station, and companies will reduce their office floor space. Office working won’t disappear completely; as humans we need that connection and face-to-face time with colleagues and clients.
Corporate sponsorship and donations
Companies can help us support more families by helping to fund our national Helpline and specialist Admiral Nurses