Rachel Bevan, Senior Consultant
Yorkshire and Humber Consultancy Team
Rachel Bevan, Senior Consultant at NECS Consultancy, shares her experience of moving between two NHS jobs whilst continuing to work from home.
Working from home has become the norm for many people over the last year, and although it has its downsides there are also a number of perks: one such benefit I discovered was moving two hundred miles away whilst being able to keep the same job. However, when the right role came up for me it was time for a change – but would it really feel the same, starting a new job but continuing to work from home?
“Are you excited about starting your new job?”
I was excited, but truth be told it really wasn’t sinking in that after my week off I would be starting somewhere new. I had very few of my usual first day worries: no working out my new commute, no wondering if I’d be allowed past reception without an ID badge, and no apprehension about fridge space and milk politics.
In my previous job I was an NHS project manager and I’d been working from home since March 2020. Though I’d moved house during that time, by the time I started at NECS I was fully settled into my new home office. I was looking forward to my new role but in the absence of those first day worries it all felt a bit, well, anti-climactic. I was sure things would sink in a bit more once I started, but I decided there were a couple of things I would try, to re-energise working from home and help me mentally get into that new job space, even if physically I would be in exactly the same place.
Firstly, I reviewed my morning rhythm. Previously I’d given myself a set start time for work, but what I did between waking up and that time varied day to day: sometimes exercising, sometimes doing housework, sometimes just starting work early. I made use of the time I didn’t need to spend commuting, but I didn’t have a set routine. Reflecting on this I decided I wanted to get back to a consistent morning schedule, re-introducing a solid foundation to the day but still capitalising on the opportunity to have a walk before work. A standard approach reinforced the ‘I am getting ready for work’ mindset, and also achieved the original aim of distinguishing between my old and new job.
The second, and most impactful, change I made was scrapping my working from home wardrobe. Before the pandemic I had always enjoyed the rare day of working from home, feeling as though not needing to don office clothes injected me with a burst of energy. So, when home working became the status quo I fully embraced the opportunity to dress more casually whilst still appropriate for work, however it struck me that changing outfits could be another adjustment to make.
Sure enough, getting back into my pre-pandemic work wardrobe really helped, even if it was an unwelcome confirmation of the lockdown pounds I had gained! Getting back into my old garb re-focused my mind for work whilst simultaneously introducing a harder separation between work and home life, keeping work to my work clothes and home to my ‘normal’ clothes. I was lucky in that I felt I managed to tread the work-home life line quite well before, but this still brought about an improvement.
Both of these changes helped me mentally to step between jobs, and when my first day at NECS came about it did of course hit home that my role had changed. That said, it was a much more comfortable first day than any other I’d had – worries like having to ask where the loos are and fearing I would get off the bus at the wrong stop were far from missed, and despite working remotely the team made me instantly feel welcome. To top it off, stepping back and looking at whether there was anything I wanted to change really refreshed my home working life.
Starting a new job remotely was never going to be the same as going into a new office, but in many respects that turned out to be no bad thing. It ended up being the most relaxing new job experience I’ve ever had whilst also prompting me to introduce positive changes to my approach to working from home. New job or not, if you’ve been working from home for a while it is well worth taking some time to review what is and isn’t working well for you.