Starting a business in a pandemic

2020 will be credited as “The biggest experiment in remote working the world has ever seen”. Homes became our workplace as the new normal gave onlookers an insight into our private space including doorbells ringing with deliveries, dogs jumping across the screen and children gatecrashing wanting attention or credits cards for ordering more deliveries

In the video above I was interviewed by The Times on how we started, launched and grew Factotum during 2020. 

Having spent most of my career building businesses through face to face networking, I had to change.

A more creative approach was needed that required technology. It was not all bad!

People that were previously unavailable were willing to take a 30-minute Teams call – an easy break from their schedule – to learn about what we were doing. More importantly, how we could help their businesses as their time became more precious and valuable in concentrating on keeping focussed on their business and future. We were able to pitch work, win clients and grow business all remotely.

I had a team that was delivering work to clients that they had never met face to face and with colleagues that they had never sat in an office with. This was a whole new experience but incredibly exciting and inspiring.

It is clear that many of these working practices will now become the way forward and will not just be for the pandemic. However, I still believe that the energy, excitement, motivation and passion that you can only get from face-to-face interaction will never be replaced by technology.

How can you inspire new members of the team with the company values and culture?

How do you  work with new trainees or apprentices to develop their skills in a remote environment?

How do you benefit from the opportunities by listening to what your colleagues are doing?

A further challenge has been how to make sure you draw the line between work and play. Boundaries became unbalanced.  My own family tell me that I work longer hours at home than when I was at the office. My own wellbeing became something I thought about and the need to take time out to recharge, take the dog for a walk, grab a coffee with a friend or just get some fresh air – all critical in making sure one remains productive and healthy. 

Whether we move to a hybrid way of work balancing working from home with office life there are some lessons from 2020.

  • Be available
  • Remain contactable
  • Communicate, AND
  • Breathe – we will get out of pandemic mode and a new normal will return


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