Simon Paine, CEO of PopUP Business School.
Chloe Shakesby

Life After Lockdown: PopUp Business School's CEO on the benefits and culture of permanent home-working

As the country emerges from lockdown, it’s a very different landscape for a lot of businesses.

The way that people shop has changed, with wariness around the spread of coronavirus still high, and the way that people want to work has changed along with this.

Bdaily spoke to business owners across the country about how they’re changing their ways of working, and what innovations they’re adopting permanently after lockdown.

Simon Paine of London-based business PopUp Business School has adopted pandemic-inspired home working strategies permanently.

PopUp Business School, which helps people to start their own businesses, helped launch 967 businesses in 2019.

In response to the Covid-19 lockdown, PopUp launched the PopUp Business Survival Guide and ran twice-weekly webinars that are now accessed by thousands of entrepreneurs for free.

After losing more than £150k in cancelled events in early March, Simon adapted his business entirely to enable full time home working.

The live events the company runs are now being held online. The first of these saw their highest ever attendance, with 265 people taking part in the live, online business training.

Meanwhile, Simon has designed home working strategies to ensure team members feel supported while working from home and will be adopting these strategies permanently.

Simon commented: “As we edge back to normality, business will never be the same.

“At PopUp, we’ve built a supportive home-working culture by making sure there are regular opportunities to have fun together, even while we’re physically distanced.

“We’ve taken inspiration from the formats of radio shows, team podcasts and livestreams with comments.

“We like to introduce a sense of play at the workplace because, sometimes, great ideas come out when colleagues are having a lot of fun with each other.

“We find that these formats all present a great opportunity to riff with colleagues in different ways and introduce a sense of play into the workplace when working remotely.

“Playing games and laughing together is great for team building, encourages openness and can lead to inspiring conversations and innovative new ideas.

“We love game shows and use a Wheel of Fortune to decide who is going to chair the next company meeting - we play the theme tune, too. We do quizzes, wordplay and silly games to keep people laughing.

“One of the hardest things to do when things are tough is to keep having fun.

“Things were very difficult for us at the start of the crisis as we are an events business and all of our work was cancelled - we lost about £150k in one day.

“But we learned new skills, managed to transition to hosting our events online, created a sponsored content hub and ran some big Facebook Live events. The Wheel of Fortune seems quite apt, now I think about it.”

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