It’s hard to know what to expect from COVID regulations as this year progresses. One thing is for clear: remote work, in one way or another, is here to stay. At TradeCloud, we have found that while the shift to working from home has not provided much needed flexibility to our employees, it hasn’t halted their productivity. Read on to learn how George Wykes, our Sales and Marketing Executive, manages his routine for a healthy work/life balance.
- How does it feel to work in a startup like TradeCloud?
It’s exciting. Working in a start-up environment is fast-paced and offers vast opportunities to learn, grow and develop. As a young individual just starting his career, working for TradeCloud is great. Having exposure to the level of knowledge, experience & support from all the management team has really helped me to gain a great understanding of both the Commodity & Tech industries alongside making me feel like a valued member of the team. By working at a company who set out to adapt the way a multi-trillion-dollar industry operates, not only exposes you to new challenges every day, but you also feel as though you are a part of something bigger, helping to shape the future of the industry which is amazing.
- How is working from home going for you?
Initially, it was difficult to get used to, as I do not have to space for a separate home office, but once I had my workspace set up, things became much easier. TradeCloud were very supportive and made sure I had everything I needed to work comfortably and effectively throughout my first few months. From then on, I have settled into working from home well, I am very productive and I am able to work effectively alongside every member of our team. We regularly talk over video calls and messages, alongside social activities such as virtual coffee mornings and pub quizzes. These social activities have meant that I have been able to build good relationships with each of my colleagues and we are able to work well as a team.
- How do you strike the right work/life balance?
I believe that one of the most important things is to stay active. This has helped me to keep a healthy work-life balance whilst working from home. It can be easy to roll out of bed onto your laptop and spend the day enclosed in a small space and never enter the right head space to carry out your work effectively. A goal I have set myself is to make sure that I go outside at least once a day, whether that is on a run during my lunch break or walking to the gym in the evening. Keeping active ensures I stay focused and gives me the energy and motivation to continue to work effectively in the home environment.
- What digital tools have facilitated your work-from-home experience?
I have utilized a variety of digital tools, helping me to work from home effectively, most of them being based around communications; Slack, Teams, Zoom, chat-based functionalities within TradeCloud’s platforms, WhatsApp, WeChat and social media (LinkedIn). I have used all these tools and more to learn, develop, communicate, and build relationships both internally and externally. By using these tools, I have never found myself stuck in a situation where I was unable to ask for support and guidance on any tasks, nor been stopped from receiving help from others whilst working from home.
- How did working from home change long-held attitudes among employers and employees?
As a 2020 graduate, I started my professional career working from home, therefore making it rather difficult for me to judge how people’s attitudes have changed from before. However, if I was to make an observation, I would say that working from home has allowed employers and employees to relate with one another on a more personal level. Working from home has allowed colleagues to see a glimpse of each other’s life away from work. The understanding that each member of a company is an individual who has their own hobbies and interests outside of work has been beneficial in building stronger relationships and a good company culture.
- How did working from home affect the commodities trading industry?
I believe that one of the biggest changes to the commodities trading industry that will arise from working from home is yet to happen. A lot of practices within commodities trading can be seen as ‘old fashioned’, such as the reliance on physical paper documentation used during a trade lifecycle. Whether it is a bill of ladings, letter of credit or any other documentation, these ‘original’ paper copies would be flown to various offices all over the world to be signed or passed from counterpart to counterpart. Although it was only a matter of time before the industry adopted the technology of the times, I believe that working from home brought this realization to the forefront of people’s minds. Over the last couple of years, these physical paper documents have been flown all over the world, often under time constraints, and arriving at offices with no one there to receive them. This caused many issues across the industry. Many people who were previously stuck on these old-fashioned ways are now starting to look at digitization and new technologies such as blockchain verification of documents in a new light. We are seeing lots of activity around digitalization across the commodity industry, and I think that working from home has shone a light on the need for this within this sector.
- What suggestions or advice would you offer to companies/people dealing with issues with this new reality?
I think the advice I would offer to both companies and individuals who are working from home, is that although you can still work productively and efficiently, it is still important to continue to grow and build up relationships both inside and outside your working life. So call your colleagues, catch up with each other regularly, go out and have face-to-face meetings when you can. Just because there is no longer the need to interact with everyone like you would in an office environment, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do so.