Working from the farm: How I became more productive and sane

Posted on 07/07/2021 by Pammy Alexander

Remote working doesn’t just have to mean working from home, but also working from anywhere in the world.

This flexibility allowed me to support my grandmother in the most difficult moment of her life. Human connection and grief cannot be rushed. Without remote working, I would have never been able to deepen my relationship with a person who is so special to me.

All the while, my productivity, focus, and mental clarity at work increased. Employees are human first, and businesses that reflect this in their policies are thriving in the current climate. Hallam is truly leading by example.

The opportunity to be present with family, when it matters most

After my grandfather’s sudden passing, I flew to Bulgaria to be with my grandmother. Aside from a few days off, I continued to work remotely.

Spending three weeks on the farm with my grandma offered us time to grieve, cook, tend to the garden and simply be in each other’s presence – something we hadn’t experienced for longer than a week at a time, since I was in school.

Being two hours ahead of the UK, we got to have breakfast together each day, establish a new routine and even sneak away into the garden and take care of some farm work. We spent our evenings reading, reminiscing and cooking the heartwarming meals of my childhood. What a privilege to share this time with my seventy-three-year-old grandmother.

A positive feedback loop: increased mental clarity and motivation to produce good work

Getting this rare opportunity to be present with my grandmother seemed to have an incredible effect on other parts of my life. For instance, there were clear indications of how it benefited my day-to-day work.

Why should businesses care? My billable productivity shot up from 75% to 83% in the first two weeks alone. Whether it’s correlation or causation, one thing is clear – taking care of our wellbeing positively impacts productivity.

Spending my lunchtimes in the sunny garden amongst the blossom trees, or adjusting my working hours to make my granny an afternoon snack all brought me mental clarity.

This peace of mind allowed me to take on more challenging work. More clarity led to increased motivation, and a positive feedback loop was established.

In fact, I completed my most complex UI project to date during my time in Bulgaria. My colleagues were completely supportive if I had to dial in from my phone in moments of patchy internet. And clients were entertained by the sounds of the rooster crowing in the background. We do have to give the rooster credit. He had more than one cameo in my work calls!

I gardened, cycled around the village, and got to take part in an Easter tradition of decorating eggs with our small neighbouring community!

Location equity

Not all companies, countries and professions are equipped for remote working.
The pandemic has increased inequality, access to healthcare, vaccines and resources for communities globally.

We must acknowledge the huge privilege of remote working. It might not suit everyone’s lifestyle, but having the opportunity has certainly changed my life for the better.

It’s also a moment to celebrate the businesses that have used COVID as an opportunity to evaluate and improve policies. Hallam has chosen to focus on location equity, pulling together a specialised team to ensure everyone’s voice is heard – no matter their location. Allowing us to be a hybrid team, based on our needs. Ultimately trusting each person to self-regulate and take good care.

If you have any questions about remote working and how it can benefit your company, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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