Home working at NVT Group – Tommy Mitchell, Group Technical Director

Read below to find out how our Group Technical Director, Tommy Mitchell, has been adapting to working from home and find out what he’s most looking forward to when things return to normal…

Can you give a description of what your role entails?

As the NVT Group Technical Director, I work with our clients, prospective clients, partners and internal teams – Sales & Marketing, Operations and Finance, to make sure that we’re delivering the right solutions and services today and looking to the future. 

What does your working day look like now you’re working from home?

I’ve been working from home since the 16th of March and, from the start, I’ve tried to maintain as normal a working day as possible in the circumstances. The dining room is now my office (which I’m sharing with my wife!) and I try to “go to work” as I would have to the NVT office. The commute is a little shorter (even though I can walk to the NVT Office) but otherwise I start at the same time and my calendar and workload looks a lot like it does normally. The technology that enables remote working is really what allows me to keep going as close to normal as possible. The only difference is that I have to compete for air time when my wife and I have calls at the same time!

What has been the biggest changes or challenges in your role?

In the normal world, I meet a lot of new people most weeks and I think that’s not so effective with the technology, as good as it is. It works brilliantly for meeting people you already know but there’s a lot that’s lost when meeting people for the first time on a digital platform, especially when there are a few people in the meeting. The sheer volume of Teams meetings is also a bit of a challenge. For the same reason, the dynamics of meetings are different and require a different style of interaction which is a bit less natural. The concentration levels mean that at the end of a busy day, you can be exhausted without ever having left your seat at the dining room table!

How have you adapted to the overall change?

Pretty well, I think. The majority of my work hasn’t changed hugely and I’ve been busy with some very large projects and that’s meant I haven’t had time to think about it not being normal.

Working remotely, how do you stay productive and connected with your team?

Despite the limitations, Microsoft Teams has kept us going. Most of our staff can work from home productively under normal circumstances but when it’s all of us and for a prolonged period you need to replace the “incidental interactions” that naturally occur in the office. I think some of us are Teams Black Belts now, we’ve set up Teams and Channels for a wide range of activities (work and fun) and integrated other useful apps (we really miss whiteboards), setup and recorded some Live Events and initiated a Training and Development programme, all in Teams. 

Do you have any tips for home working?

I think everyone is slightly different but what works for me is to keep “work” and “home” separate. We don’t eat in the Dining Room for now, that’s now a “work” space. Keep the same routine for starting, taking breaks and going “home”. Make time for “incidental interactions” to stay in touch with colleagues. Try to get outside for exercise and fresh air at least once a day.

What are you most looking forward to in the future?

A haircut!  Seriously, the 70’s called and want their ‘do back!

Workwise, I’m looking forward to meeting people in real life again, I’m basically a social animal and I really miss that. Outside of work, Football, especially NVT’s Wednesday night 5 a side and getting back to Fir Park to watch the Mighty Motherwell FC in Europe.