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From Cape Town With Love - Can You Hear Me?

Every morning I travel 6,008.70 miles to get to work. Remotely that is.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way the world works. Over the last year and a half, we have overwhelmingly embraced the freedom and agility that remote work offers the working world.

Based in Cape Town, affectionately known as the Mother City, and working for Douglas & Gordon in the home of the Big Ben, London; this is my norm.

An avid follower of The English Premier League, the Netflix series Bridgerton, Wimbledon, and The Royal family; spending 37.5% of my day peeking into the London life has come with much joy, laughter, awkward humour and a tad bit of envy.

Although COVID-19 affected all of us differently, being restricted to higher levels of lockdowns, while my colleagues were frolicking in the outdoor summer breeze, with little to no restrictions was at times a bitter pill to swallow. Despite that, it was a pleasing refreshing sight to see that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

As my day starts ahead of the rest of the team, it allows for flexibility and time preparation, and after ensuring uninterrupted WIFI connection - simplicity is sure to follow for the rest of the day. In a normal office environment, you find yourself switching between tasks a lot. But during remote working, with proper time management and discipline, despite the time difference, I am able to plan my day with ease.

Being a remote part of the Accounts Lettings team at Douglas & Gordon in London allows for an ideal work life balance, improved mental health and increased productivity. Social chats have remained uplifting, and we have learned that we actually have so much in common. From our love of football to the delays on railway systems. As a Capetonian, I now know that the words geyser and radiator, have totally different meanings when used in the UK. From cheerful Cape Town with its howling South Easter wind to the lovely London, seeing my colleagues run for a “brolly” in a surprisingly extended winter has made for fun small talk around the “braai” with my family and friends.

Thanks to the revolution of technology, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have become our water cooler meeting ground, and even though we are in two different time zones, being a part of the D&G family has come with much ease and comfort. Celebrating D&G’s many milestones, fun activities, lapping up achievements of other colleagues within the business is somewhat “like” having a friend in the future.

With the occasional “can you hear us?”, “did we lose her?”, “are you on mute?”, the D&G Accounts Lettings team have managed to create a smooth transition in welcoming the chatty South African into their world. We have built meaningful connections which keeps the team spirit and morale going. The daily noon day signal of the canon firing in our Mother City symbolises lunch time for many, for me it’s a gentle reminder that in my working world it is still morning, and another cuppa will do.

As things in the world steadily head towards a “new normality”, the hope is that one day our team of 10 can enjoy the same space with continued loud laughs, coffee dates without the screen, and lots of mask wearing socially distanced hugs.

Remote work is here to stay and with all the benefits it offers both me and the D&G Accounts Lettings team, the luxury of the backdrop of Table Mountain is a wonder of the world we sometimes fail to appreciate. My team has taught and shown me so much about their ravishingly beautiful city, that one begs to question, how different is London and Cape Town really? When you embrace the spirit of 'Ubuntu', you’ll see that there are more similarities than differences.