A day at the (home) office with… Rob!

So, it’s safe to say that a lot has changed in the world in the last few weeks. When I was asked to write a blog about my typical work day I was planning on writing about all kinds of interesting activities that my day usually consists out of: coaching sessions with entrepreneurs, intakes with participants for our renewed Improve program, business meetings within the ecosystem and the planning of big events for late spring and summer.

And then Monday the 16th of March came. An impressive national press conference from our prime minister with drastic measures for the entire Dutch population. We had to stay inside. We couldn’t work at the University Campus anymore. We couldn’t meet anyone. And that hit us…. hard.

We are only allowed to set foot on campus for urgent matters. All the measures taken into account inherently meant that this blog will not describe my typical day at the Mercator Launch office but rather my ‘typical day’ working from home. I’m still getting used to the new way of working… but it is very interesting to see what differences I experience with this new way of working. Let me tell you.

I always like to start early. Starting at 7 AM is not uncommon for me. Yesss, I know that’s really REALLY early. And it gets even weirder if I tell you I don’t even live in Nijmegen, but a staggering 45-minute drive away from the Radboud Campus. But do you know why I love starting my day so early? There are no incoming emails yet, no phone calls, no meetings and requests. This head start of the day gives me 1 ½ hour to really focus on that one important task I definitely want to finish that day. And today I’m using this valuable time to write this blog. So, my workday at home starts quite similarly. The only thing I don’t need to do is drive to work for 45 minutes, so HELLO snooze button 😊.

The major difference to my regular day at the office is that there are no colleagues around. And that is something I really miss. Yes, I do like to focus on a project and work concentrated without any distractions, but even I can’t do that for eight hours straight. I am not a robot! 😊 I really miss my team members! I miss discussing business cases, fine-tuning our services, setting up events together, but most of all: I miss the social interaction and all the fun we have at the office together. That’s what makes Mercator Launch such a nice place to work! Luckily, we have Skype, web sessions, WhatsApp and SLACK, but I prefer face to face contact to any of the online tools. It’s way more fun and inspiring!

But I have to admit, after a week in this new situation… it is not that big of a difference as I expected. Our coaching sessions have changed to Skype sessions. And to be honest, it doesn’t lower the quality or quantity of the meetings. We still socialize, discuss the necessary topics and take the action that’s needed afterwards. Almost business as usual. Maybe even more effective.

I have 6 online meetings on my calendar today. And I can assure you that, on a normal working day at the office, I would never be able to plan 6 meetings in one day! The online meetings seem to be more efficient. We focus on the problem or tasks at hand, take action and move on. The online sessions feel more goal oriented and result driven. A very interesting fact I would have never found out about if I didn’t need to work from home. So, what does this mean for my meetings when this crisis situation is over and we return to our normal work at the office? Will I be able to schedule 30- or 45-minute coaching sessions instead of the usual 1-hour sessions? Will we work from home more often to increase our productivity?

Very interesting questions I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days. Maybe you have as well. Are you willing to share your thoughts and questions on this topic? And see how we can learn from each other? We would love to invite you to our Mercator Launch SLACK workspace. In this online community, you can interact with me and all the other business coaches + 125 other entrepreneurial minded people. Let’s meet online!

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See you soon!