What has Joel Campbells experience of remote working been like?
I started out very similarly. Maybe some of you will relate to this. I started out in my basement in what I would call a Barca Lounge, but it was a little nicer than that, sitting at a game table for the first three months when I went home, because I thought, hey, this is just for two weeks, we're going back to the office. Why would I invest in creating an office?
Four months later, I was in the middle of doing a debt deal for my prior employer, which I had done dozens of times before, but had never done one from home in my basement, sitting at a Barca Lounge. We pulled it off. We were actually very successful in what we did, but it taught me a lot about, you know, I'm a little bit different than Lee-Ann.
I'm an extrovert. I thrive on being around people. I get my energy from processing things out loud with other people. So for me, going and working in my basement for, you know, 12, 14 hours a day drove me absolutely crazy. The fact that I got really frustrated was sitting and having to be on Zoom calls after Zoom calls, after Zoom calls. At any time I wanted to talk to someone, I had to get on a calendar and wait for them to be available. And I actually found myself working more than if I had gone to the office. Maybe some of you experienced that?
You could walk by your computer and, you intend to check emails for 20 minutes and three hours later, your family wonders if you're still alive in the basement or not!. So my experience was a little bit different.
I would say, though, as Lee-Ann said, we settled into a new way of doing things. So I actually got an office chair, I got a desk, I set up a proper office to make it feel more like something that was professional, that at least gave me a space to go to, something to do, and then I could go, retire to a different life, hopefully after hours.
The thing I would say that I learned through hybrid working, though, once we kind of morphed two years after COVID, I worked for, again, a private equity -owned company. They were very forceful, very big on us being back together, so we actually built out an office. We are now in a true hybrid work schedule, and that, for me, has been a very welcomed opportunity to get back and be with people, to be around people and interact and collaborate and solve issues quickly.
Those are things that I got frustrated with in a hybrid environment. Maybe some of you did as well. The thing I saw in some of my staff is you really started to see kind of the bifurcation of the introverts and the extroverts, and you could really start to see who did really well. You could see people who were struggling. We had to get a lot more intentional around having tea meetings and drinks over Zoom at five o 'clock on a Friday night just to make sure people were staying connected.
I think we all suffered through all those issues. Now I think we're in a post -pandemic environment. Now what do we do? I think we're facing into maybe this is the new norm, but what does that new norm look like and will it evolve and change even further? God forbid if there's another pandemic or if there's another crisis that we have to go through. I think as leaders of your companies, we all have to think through those issues and the impacts that they have on our people. ...