Where I WFH: James Manaley, Head of Partnerships at KOMI group

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James Manaley is Head of Partnerships at Manchester-based social media marketing company KOMI group, which has recently rebranded from It's Gone Viral.

Here he gives us an inisght into his working-from-home arrangements...

1. Where in the house do you work?

Usually it’s the spare bedroom, with the occasional garden appearance when the sun is out. However, with a four-year-old full of energy and partner that’s 24 weeks pregnant, my office is anywhere it needs to be.

2. Paint a picture for us of the view from your window

I could say something really profound like: I can only see opportunity and greatness. But, being honest, if I turn my head right and look out of my window then I look over to a wild forest area and if I look down I can see my cars and front garden usually with toys on it, and if I look left there’s a building site.

3. If you have one, can you talk us through your home-working daily routine?

I’ve tried to stick to a routine as much as possible. We’ve recently rebranded to KOMI group, and also restructured the business to become a three divisional agency model consisting of dedicated social media and marketing teams as well as a licensing arm called Ark Media. The process of making that all happen has been a big focus for the team over the past couple of months, so our daily routines have been dominated by regular updates and planning sessions as well as making sure we’re creating new, engaging content and campaigns for the brands we work with.

4. Which tools and technology do you rely on when working from home?

Macbook, lamp, microwave… everything. But the one thing I couldn’t live without is my mobile; it’s my everything, my world, without it I’d be lost. Not because of social media or all the apps, but there nothing better than being during these times than hearings someone’s voice whilst being at home, and when it gets really exciting, pacing around the house for no apparent reason.

James Manaley's home-working set-up

5. What do you miss most about working from an office?

It’s probably a predictable answer but I miss the team the most. We’re a close team and we bounce off each other every day. We also promote and encourage a very creative working environment where everyone can express themselves and develop their ideas. Maintaining that has been a challenge, but we’ve all risen to it and we’re producing some of our best ever content which is something I’m very proud of.

6. What tips do you have for increasing productivity while working from home?

Don’t be afraid if you need to switch your working day around. If this crisis teaches us anything then it should be that flexibility is no bad thing. For example, if you need to look after the kids or home school them then don’t feel guilty about it. Getting the work done, and achieving the right result, is all that matters - regardless of how you do it.

7. Will you looking to work from home more in the future?

It’ll depend on how the next few months pan out. I like being in the office with the team and I like a division between my work and home lives. However, I think we’ve all realised that working from home can be beneficial, so I have no doubt that I’ll do more of it.

8. How do you think the workplace will change in the future?

As a business we’ve always embraced flexible work practices and we’ve trusted our team to choose their hours. Central to our philosophy since we set up the company up has been to encourage autonomy and ownership, so how people choose to structure their own working days is a big part of that. However, we want to be a pioneer for change so we will be looking at how we can develop that as coronavirus has taught us a lot.