Monday 23rd March, the first day of ‘Lockdown’ feels a long, long time ago. We are approaching 16 weeks since we commenced working from home. If you had told me at the start of the year that we would be working successfully, remotely, I would not have believed you. That is testament to both our IT team headed up by Tom Hopes and our people.
Working from home is not something I had ever considered previously. I enjoy the interactions and “buzz” of an office environment, but I am starting to weirdly enjoy it. My change in commute saves me 2 hours a day, I feel more productive and I am working on an improvement in exercise, so I now make calls whilst walking (although this may be more to do with the nice weather we were enjoying).
Business-wise we are now cautiously optimistic; we have just had our best week. There are small signs of improvement. There has been increased activity on the roads these last few weeks and this is set to further increase with the recently announced lifting of the lock-down restrictions, enabling people to socialise and increase the numbers within their bubbles, restaurants opening up again and people are now booking holidays across the UK. Our work volumes are directly related to the number of cars on the road, so this is a positive trend.
This has not been the case throughout this pandemic. There has been and continues to be so much uncertainty, requiring constant forecasting and re-forecasting. We have had to make a lot of business critical and difficult decisions on a near daily basis and at times the future has looked bleak.
However, the way the business has come together in this unusual situation has made me really proud. We work hard on our culture and values and never have these been more apparent and appreciated. The staff who have remained have been incredibly determined and diligent and those on furlough have been understanding and supportive. It’s incredible how quickly the word furlough has not only appeared in our vocabulary (I for one had never heard of it prior to March 2020) but is now used daily.
The work place and environment will be different going forwards, but I am optimistic and excited. Zoom and Teams are becoming a staple in most businesses to help with communication and engagement both internally and externally, professionally and on a personal level.
We are planning for the future, our vision and purpose remains clear, defined and unchanged but the method of achieving will change. We are looking how we can improve the environments, communication and processes for internal and external stakeholders.
It has been difficult at times (I have an improved appreciation for primary school teachers, trying to balance home schooling), but it is important in times of change to meet the challenge and variations head on to try and ensure something new and improved comes from the change. That is our aim and hope.