Nature Picture Library Working from Home
Due to the current restrictions, Nature Picture Library staff have made a very rapid transition to almost 100% remote working. Tim Harris, Sales Manager, asked the team to tell him how they were adjusting to working from home, and to share some photos of their work station and surrounding scenery. Read on to find out more about Nature Picture Library working from home and the challenges and unexpected benefits of remote access working….
Laura – Picture Researcher/Account Manager
“Working from home full time has been a bit of an adjustment, but one that my partner and I are adapting to together. We’ve re-jigged our spare room into a two-desk home-office so we can both work upstairs, which means the commute has significantly decreased. But so has my daily exercise, as I usually cycle to work every day. I’m particularly enjoying having the flexibility to start early, as I find I am most productive first thing. Taking a quick break to walk the dog or potter in the garden still feels like a treat.”
Living near a city park
“I am extremely grateful that I live directly opposite one of Bristol’s city parks. This allows me to escape my screen to walk my cocker spaniel, which makes a lovely relaxing break – especially while we’re enjoying such beautiful weather. She’s loving having us at home, and enjoying zipping up the stairs to investigate what we’re up to in the office. This also usually involves raiding the laundry basket for socks on her way past!”
“I am however missing the rest of the NPL team, the daily random chats about family, pets and last night’s tv (and our many tea rounds). We have started using a video conferencing platform now, and I can already see our video calls becoming a weekly highlight.”
Tim A – Senior Media Researcher
“I was already accustomed to working from home twice a week before COVID-19 erupted onto the scene – so for me, there was little need for adjustment. I’m well acquainted with the rulebook of the home office. Don’t oversleep, change out of your pyjamas, never work on the sofa, leave the TV switched off (the radio is ok sometimes). And avoid getting up for that third, or fourth, cup of coffee. (I’m still working on that last one). Being at home full time does feel different, though. I miss my bike commutes to and from the office. I also find the boundary between work and home life becomes blurrier when these (normally partitioned) things suddenly occupy the same space.”
“Fortunately, I live near a large woodland, where I can take my daily exercise – in a socially distant way, of course. With the sun shining and spring unfolding everywhere, these walks provide a welcome escape from work. They also provide a break from the constant assault of information and news – not all of it grounded in fact. The internet says that dolphins are swimming in the Venice canal, while emboldened elephants break into Chinese villages to steal all the wine. While we’re at it, only yesterday I saw a Diplodocus munching its way through swathes of wild garlic – probably to keep all the vampires at bay. It’s nice to see nature bouncing back, isn’t it?”
“In all seriousness though, it does feel like nature has been given a brief respite. Cities are less choked with pollution, and China has responded to the outbreak of COVID-19 by shutting down wet markets and permanently banning the sale of wild animals for food.”
“On a smaller and more personal scale, I saw a peacock butterfly on one of my walks – a species which has suffered several poor years in the UK recently, but has been given a welcome boost by the record temperatures of last summer. Little things like this keep me moving in the right direction.”
Make room for kindness
“The human cost of the outbreak is unquestionably terrible, and COVID-19 has spread fear among us, as well as illness. It’s more important than ever that we make room in our lives for joy and kindness. We don’t currently know what wider impacts the pandemic will have, or how long we’ll be in its shadow. These are clearly uncharted waters. But I sincerely hope that when we make landfall again, we can all set foot in a world that’s more resilient, more united and more cognizant of how we should treat each other, and all the other animals we share our home with.”
Rachelle – Books Account Manager & Media Researcher
“Working from home for me has been a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my family – to watch my children learn and grow, and to have more of a work-life balance.
Working from home has its challenges; my ‘desk’ is our dining table which is now everyone’s work station – our laptops can be found alongside fractions and grammar homework sheets, paints and board books. Sometimes the cat joins in, taking any opportunity to sit on an unattended laptop. My seat is by a large window where I can watch blue tits, robins, sparrows and great tits feeding from our bird feeders.”
Organised for the day ahead…
“With two children at home, we have to be organised. We have a timetable so that we all know what we need to do throughout the day; we have to fit in homeschooling (my son’s school sends us a list of tasks that should be completed each day) alongside our own work. Each morning starts either with yoga or a workout. There is flexibility though – there are days and times when other things need doing, or when the children want some time to video call their friends and family.”
Appreciating what we have…
“Our typical week used to be full of rushing around. With a 3-year-old to get to pre-school and a 7-year-old to school before my husband and I headed to our respective jobs, our mornings were often hectic. So were our evenings: rushing to catch the bus, hoping to evade the rush-hour traffic and pick up the kids on time. Once home, we would have an hour and a half with our children before they had to go to bed.
Our evenings now end with a family movie and popcorn or a family game – things that previously we never had time for in the week. I help my son with his homework and I see his pride when he accomplishes his tasks. I’ve had a picnic in our garden with my daughter and her toys. I can see my husband working hard for all of us.
I have a greater appreciation now for the little things and all of this time that I can be with my children. We’re fortunate to have our garden, with woods and rivers close-by where we can go for walks, paddle in the water and pick wild garlic. My working hours are no longer 9-5, but my days are fuller, more rewarding, more varied, though more exhausting. I do miss seeing my NPL family though – the banter, the random conversations and the array of cakes and biscuits!”
Giles – IT Manager
“As I live a fair distance from work, it is nice to be able to avoid the commute. Unfortunately, my WiFi won’t reach to the garden, so I can’t work in the sun. But I can pop out for a breather, and we’re very lucky to have a big garden, and an abundance of easily accessible woodland walks. I can see spring unfurling all around me, with stoats and a variety of birds playing and singing in the garden, and the leaves on my apple trees waking up and opening. Reduced human impact on the environment is noticeable. We will try and forage some of the abundance of local wild garlic, to make pesto.
From a technological perspective, managing the demands of greatly increased simultaneous remote access and video conferencing is a bit of a challenge, but we do seem to be managing quite smoothly. And we’re fortunate that we can do a large proportion of our work remotely. It is lovely to spend more time with my children, but I do occasionally miss the comparative peace of my desk in the office!”
Ben – Digital Imaging Manager
“As we at Nature Picture Library get acquainted with working from home at this time I note that for me at least, working from home has slashed my one hour commute each way to just one stride, a short one at that. I have a basic plan to take advantage of this gifted time; I will do thirty minutes exercise in the morning and get thirty minutes more sleep. After work, rather than sitting on a crowded bus, I will weed the garden slowly and do some breathing exercises on the garden bench if the weather plays ball.”
Our ability to change is key to success
“At home I share our makeshift office with my wife Jo, who is coordinating her team and activities for an altogether different business. I make the morning hot drinks round and Jo makes the afternoon drinks. If work is going well come three in the afternoon we can treat ourselves to a chocolate slice until they run out. Having been the Digital Imaging Manager at Nature Picture Library the best part of twenty years and a caring partner to Jo for twelve, I have seen lots of change and know that our ability to change is key to our success now and in the future.”
Alex – Picture Library Assistant
“Until last Monday I had never worked from home before, so it felt very strange to log on to my work computer and start raising invoices whist being 2 feet away from my bed.”
“No longer having a commute means that I will require some self-motivation to get out and do some physical exercise every day after work (or maybe before work if I can really motivate myself), but I certainly do not miss trying to squeeze my bike through busy Bristol traffic come 5pm every weekday.”
I miss the 11am coffee-round!
“I miss the face to face interaction with my NPL colleagues and the profound social occasion that is the 11am coffee-round, but I’m very aware that many people in the world are having a really tough time of it at the moment, so I’m grateful to still have my pile of invoices to start on at 9am each day.”
“My workstation is fairly cramped and requires regular stretches as a result, but at least working from home means I can utilise my excellent speakers!”
Sophie – Senior Cataloguer
“I have been working from home for a few weeks now and although I had worked from home occasionally before, it’s a big change of pace working from home every day. Whilst it is a strange and a scary situation as this pandemic develops I have many things to be grateful for.”
More time for pets and gardening
“Not having to commute has freed up a great deal of time for me, which I have been spending with my pets, gardening and doing crafts. I’m also incredibly luckily to live near the Wales Coastal Path, which has been a lovely quiet place to walk to.”
Kathryn – Accounts and Office Manager
“I am learning to fit my son’s home education around my work and our one long dog walk each day. The walk has been a real lifeline and we have enjoyed watching skylarks soaring, a kestrel hunting and I am pleased to see my son’s butterfly recognition coming on in leaps and bounds. He was absolutely thrilled to spot some deer last week.
Appreciating the small things in life
I have also noticed how much we appreciate a loaf of fresh bread and some eggs for making cakes so much more than we used to. That is something I would like to hold on to after this time is over. I miss my NPL friends in the meantime and look forward to working with them all again in person.”
Tim H – Sales and Marketing Manager
“For me the downside of working full-time from home is missing interaction with colleagues, no brisk walk through beautiful Bristol on my way to the office, and a much less ergonomic work-station. A laptop on the dining table is no real substitute for a properly adjusted work-station. However, I’m really grateful to our IT manager Giles for having this all set up and ready to go!”
Stay safe and keep others safe
“The upside of home-working is seeing more of my partner and having a chance in my breaks to stretch my legs in the fresh air of the garden, while admiring the cherry and plum blossom. And of course, most importantly, knowing that I am staying safe and therefore helping other people to stay safe too!”
Milo – Video Editor
Maintaining social distancing
“Managing the footage side of NPL has proved challenging from home. My poor internet connection is unable to cope with the super high-quality videos our photographers send in. So I have continued to come into the office, cramming my hours into three long but productive days. These are mainly spent watering the many plants that Sophie has left on the windowsills. Helen has also been coming in, and we each have a whole floor of the office to ourselves. This way we maintain social distancing. To rub it in the face of my remote-working colleagues, she brought in a huge slice of fruit cake for me today!”
“I cycle to and from work each day, and the deserted streets are wonderful. On the way home the evening air is full of the sound of the city’s blackbirds singing for territory, rather than exhaust fumes and engine noise. I find myself wishing it could be this car-free all the time. I often spot urban red foxes running riot too. And now the clocks have gone forward, I can see everyone’s gardens bursting into life as I gasp my way slowly up Bristol’s many hills.”
Online yoga and befriending a robin
“The rest of my time I’ve either been doing online yoga or working in my new garden, planting shade-loving plants beneath a huge old churchyard yew that overhangs it. With all my diggings I’ve become pally with the local robin who hops around me grabbing invertebrates, he’s a really cool guy!”
Helen – Managing Director
“Working in the office on my own is a quiet experience – I like it and I don’t feel isolated at all. I still feel very connected to everyone through email.”
Our small garden is coming to life
“Our small garden behind the office is coming to life, especially after the last sunny week. I take frequent breaks to admire the Comfrey flowers and see if there are any visiting bumblebees.”
Share your stories of home-working
Now you have heard about how Nature Picture Library is working from home, it’s your turn! We would love to know how you are getting on if, like us, you are currently working from home. Please do email us and tell us what you have discovered through home-working – we’d love to hear your top tips and to see your inspirational photos.
With best wishes to all the clients, picture researchers, partners and photographers we are privileged to work with. Stay safe and keep in touch!