As the coronavirus continues to progress and vaccines are a still a long way off, working from home is likely to continue for many professionals. In the compliance arena, some compliance officers (COs) were already set up to work under self-isolated circumstances, so could carry on online with little change required. For some of the COs at Compli-Serve, while it has included adjustments, the lockdown has also locked in a different way of doing business, and it works.

Give and take

Theresa van Diggelen notes that while she misses being able to turn around at her desk to ask a colleague something; those office interactions we thought we’d never lose (even if only temporarily), she can get more done in a working day at home. “We could bounce ideas off each other, so working from home has changed the way we do that. Remote meetings with clients, though, give me more time to focus on work instead of sitting on the train or in traffic to travel to and from client meetings.”

A home office is where the heart is

Riana Grobler always had an office at home, so felt accustomed before lockdown. “What I do miss is dressing up and getting out of my home office to see clients, having face to face conversations.” Working from home allows for more productive working hours instead of spending time sitting in your car in traffic.

“Eliminating travel time also means I can respond to clients faster, using my time between meetings to focus on my deliverables, as opposed to driving,” says Nadia Verappen.

For Catherine Cooper, CO and Director of Compli-Serve KZN, it has been helpful having a home office and being set up to work remotely. “The big adjustment was remaining at home, especially when we were not allowed to exercise. I literally didn’t see another soul for the first two weeks.” Getting accustomed to spending time with yourself does spark ideas though.

“I am travelling less and decided to use this time to re-start my life. The first weekend of lockdown, I did a basic feng shui exercise on my home and have been clearing out clutter ever since. I feel more grounded, peaceful and appreciative of all that I have,” Catherine says.

Wearing different hats

Nadia highlights that lockdown without the help of childcare or a domestic worker has been the biggest challenge but has also inspired finding solutions for her family to thrive. “My services as Compliance Officer, cook, cleaner, teacher and worthy side-kick to my daughter and her imaginative adventures, are in high demand,” she says.

“Routine planning has been paramount to managing it all. It’s a spreadsheet detailing our week as my husband and I co- ordinate work and looking after our toddler.”

For Anel Naude, who had a baby in March, lockdown has certainly not been boring either. Amidst the start of a new chapter, she’s pleased to be prepared for working from home. “I think many of us already had a lot of the solutions in place to operate effectively, like a home office setup, a stable internet connection and a good cell phone package.”

Getting things done

“Time is a valuable commodity, so we focus on what is truly important. Online meetings with clients have been operating well even though we have the odd child or pet popping in occasionally,” says Nadia, who strives for professional etiquette online as much as possible, as she would at a face-to-face meeting.

“Right from the beginning of lockdown,” adds Theresa. “I made sure I stuck to a routine – waking up at the same time during the week, ensuring I had time for breakfast, lunch and exercising, and logging off my emails every evening at the same time.”

The hardest part of working from home has been to switch off from work.  I find myself wanting to quickly finish a work-related task in the evenings, but try to stop myself to focus on my own emotional and physical well-being instead. Lockdown has shown us just how important it is to get the balance right.

Article by Tanya van Aswegen, General Manager, Compli-Serve