100 Days of Lockdown
It’s 100 days since lockdown started on the 23rd of March 2020. So it’s 103 days since I flew home from a holiday in Mexico and my wife insisting on wiping down an entire Boeing 777 inside and out with an antibacterial wipe the size of a postcard.
I was flying home to empty shelves and the unknown having been in a rather sunny bubble for a few weeks. Two of my biggest clients, being hotels, closing their doors, we had to prepare for working from home and my team started casually liberating everything from the office including macs, screens, toilet paper and the really nice caramel biscuits that you get in posh coffee shops. (I swear we had hundreds of them.)
There was an uncertain landscape ahead of us, but like any self-respecting businessman and leader – I downloaded Microsoft Teams and then sorted a Click + Collect from Tesco.
What have I learnt since?
ON A TEAM LEVEL?
I knew this anyway, but I am surrounded by a brilliant team. Each of them handled themselves magnificently and has been supportive and understanding of all the changes, decisions and new ways of working. I have done my best to detect when mood is low with people and we have all tried to support each other and I have been honest if I have been struggling a bit with either energy or motivation on certain days. I have tried to keep everyone as informed as possible with how business is, what decisions are coming up and what the next month looks like. We have treated each month as a mini-project and then adapted our plans accordingly.
ON A CLIENT LEVEL?
It’s been challenging but good. We have picked up a few new clients despite having never met them or visited their premises which has been a refreshing way of working, but I am looking forward to getting back to when you can make great connections with people over a coffee and the ‘getting to know you’ chat. We have been working with all our other clients and starting to understand how they will need to act differently and how that affects what they need from us. Some have had the time to take a step back and start projects that have been hovering, others, have been transforming their business at an impressive rate.
ON A BUSINESS LEVEL?
At the beginning, trying to think beyond the first three months of how this was going to affect us was difficult. The first month was digging in, conversations with all clients, trying to work out what would happen to the sales pipeline and understand all the fast moving advice and legislation. May seemed to see us more in the swing of our new found ways of working and when we turned the corner into June it really felt like there was a mood change and positivity replaced uncertainty. Like everyone, I now use Zoom for meetings rather than jumping in the car and zooming TO meetings.
Remind me why we wave at the end of Zoom meetings again? 😉
ON A PERSONAL LEVEL?
After a few false starts, I got myself into a routine of fitness and finding time for myself as well as starting to deal with the overwhelming list of household chores that I had ran out of excuses to avoid (I finished painting the garden wall after four years). I signed up for the very excellent FiiT app and I’ve attended 25 virtual gym classes and been discovering lots of new running routes around the Southside of Glasgow covering over 150k. My cooking has improved and my wife scored one particular meal as 4.5 on Trip Advisor.
ON A WELLBEING LEVEL?
Good days, bad days and a lot of learning about what makes you tick when your routine is taken away. I started to realise that I missed my commute and the time where you don’t need to think about much apart from mindless nonsense on your phone while listening to 5Live. So I now make sure I get a bit of time to myself before jumping into the day, this is sometimes exercise or just a cup of tea and the news. Time seems to just disappear as days are not punctuated by old style meetings, general banter and ‘normal’ office stuff. You don’t realise how important all those little bits of interaction are.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE LAST 100 DAYS?
The mantra I shared with the team at the start of April and throughout this time it has still been our guiding light….
“I want our team to all return fit and healthy to a business that is fit and healthy when the time is right.”
But what are we returning too? I need to answer some big questions around the office, working from home policy as well as our equipment and procedures but now it feels like the next natural step as opposed to overwhelming changes.
The good news just now is that we are all still here, we are all fit and healthy, all busy, all working hard, all adapting well and focussed on keeping each other happy and our clients happy.
WHAT DO THE NEXT 100 DAYS HOLD?
Well perhaps you can expect another blog on the 9th of October but the next focus for me is, as always, the long term stability of the business, work, clients and finances and I must get out of the habit of watching Homes Under the Hammer.
But on a serious note…
- Thanks to my team for all your understanding, flexibility and hard work.
- Thanks to my clients for working with us, sticking with us and treating us as a partner rather than a hired hand.
- Oh, and thanks to you for reading this.