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May 20, 2020

Working 100% remotely one week after joining Difrent

Working from home

It goes without saying that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the combative measures in place in response to the virus has turned life on its head for practically everyone in the country in a way that none of us have experienced in our lifetime.

In these uncertain times, we can appreciate the need to be cautious so that we can see this through to the eventual return to normal, whatever that may be.

I joined Difrent in early March when Coronavirus was already present in the UK, albeit cases were still in double figures then.

In the month between resigning my old post and joining Difrent, the effects of the virus were steadily worsening and during my first week the decision was made to continue working from home after a grand total of three days in the office.

Our remote-first way of working

Remote working was something that was highlighted as a well-established part of the Difrent way of life pretty much from the first conversation I had during the application process.

Little did I know we would come to rely on it so soon for such a prolonged period of time.

I was impressed with the seamless transition into remote working, particularly as up to now I had always been tethered to an office even if I didn’t necessarily need to be.

The following week the government announced full lockdown, by which point many people across the UK were still packing onto crowded buses and trains to commute into work.

Difrent absolutely led by example and opted for the most proactive response, ensuring staff could adhere to social distancing measures without disruption to the business (read how we prepared our team for COVID-19).

100% remote without any issues

As somebody who had just started a job with a new company right on the cusp of the pandemic escalation, I could not be more grateful for this agile way of working.

Whilst it wasn’t an ideal situation for anybody, I was still able to get the support I needed and familiarise myself with the different aspects of the role and wider company simply from the communication tools already in place, and of course the outstanding people that make all the difference.

Two months on, I’ve been involved with the onboarding of both permanent staff & contractors, all who have joined in the middle of lockdown and have managed to carry out incredible work (such as the key worker home test ordering service).

The fact that 100% of interaction with colleagues and clients is undertaken remotely hasn’t been an issue.

The high level of engagement between our team members has remained consistent and I can honestly say that I feel more involved as part of a remote team at Difrent than I ever have with previous office-based companies.

Looking into a remote-first future

In summary, as the country works to get back on its feet and we see where the next few months take us, many businesses and their workers may need to consider adopting a more flexible style of working and to reflect on how much importance they place on the need for physical presence at all times when it has no bearing on how efficient their business can operate.

While the Coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on many aspects of everyday life, I feel incredibly lucky that I’m able to continue working and contribute positively.

Admittedly, it was never the fresh start I (or anyone) envisioned, but working remotely offers to make the best of a bad situation whilst we look forward to returning to a more familiar way of life.

Written by Matt Oliver - Senior Operations Administrator @ Difrent



read more

March 12, 2020
6 steps we’ve taken to prepare our team for COVID-19

COVID-19 is affecting the entire world. In light of what is happening closer to home in the UK, we wanted to share how we are preparing our teams for the potential impacts that the virus could have on our employees and everyone we work with.

May 7, 2020
Fighting COVID-19 with NHSX, getting key workers back to the frontline in 8 days

Randal (Product Manager at Difrent) shares his experience of delivering the key worker home test ordering service with NHSX

May 4, 2020
Overhauling our finance system during lockdown, are we mad?

Nic (our Finance & Operations Manager) explains how and why we overhauled our finance system in the middle of the national COVID-19 lockdown.