My month in lockdown

Half way through another week of social distancing and working from home, it does feel a bit more ‘normal’ now - even for me, someone who loves going to work each day. One thing lockdown has highlighted is how important social interaction is, and how much I miss seeing my colleagues.

Of course, I support every initiative which will help combat coronavirus. When we knew we’d need to work from home, our focus was making sure everyone could operate normally from their home office, kitchen table, wherever. Once we were up and running – far sooner than I would have predicted – it became clear that communication is crucial. I’ve often thought that we could improve on our use of technology and it’s great to see the business adapt so quickly. We’ve found that, being together virtually, being able to see everyone, is much better than just a phone call and helps to make sure we stay connected.

Wherever they’re based in the UK, this new way of working has highlighted how resolute our staff really is. Jackie Whateley, in the north west, has commented that camaraderie has been amazing. She’s impressed at how the team is working proactively to ensure their frontline workers are safe – and not just with the PPE kits we were able to send to our workers around the country. With the backing of local authorities, our consultants are encouraging workers to base themselves at home as much as possible. Our back office team has also gone above and beyond to adapt to new practices to ensure workers are compliant, and to make sure they’re paid each and every week. This sometimes means extra-long days to make sure it happens without interruption. Wherever possible, we’re pooling our resources and some colleagues have stepped in to help others when they’re busier than expected. I have been inspired by what they’re capable of.

Over the last month, my priority has been to do everything I can to protect the health, welfare and safety of my team and our workers. I’m not on the frontline myself, but I remain thankful to our social workers, teachers and care assistants who are. Most of all, I’m grateful to them and the part they’re playing in the fight against this awful virus.