Martin Summerhayes, Head of Transformation Services at MDB Service Consulting, reflects on the first week of lockdown and how we’re all adjusting to a new way of working.
We are just over a week into lockdown here in the UK due to Covid-19. People are adjusting and the changes are sinking in; in terms of the restrictions and adjustments to their daily lives. For many businesses, working from home has really kicked in and is fast becoming the norm.
Working from home instead of the office brings its own challenges. In some households, it has meant the creation of dedicated workspace; or more than one; if multiple people are working from home. Trying to find a space in your home that you can turn into an “office” can be tricky. Do you have any available space? Can it be easily connected to the Internet? And are you able to distance yourself from any interruptions by others living with you (which might include pets and toddlers)?
What’s more, for many parents, the school has transferred itself into the home environment. This brings with it the additional challenges of trying to home school children which can be a new and perhaps frightening experience as you seek to motivate, instil knowledge and provide positive activities; all at the same time. I can only imagine the worst-case scenario where both parents are working from home, following the UK government’s advice on staying put, while at the same time, trying to home school a couple of small people. This can bring all sorts of pressures and strains, and of course, the inevitable interruptions when one of the adults is on a business call.
For many of us, there have been times when in the middle of a conference call, the doorbell has rung for a delivery. Or the dog starts barking for some unknown reason. Maybe, the children don’t realise you are on a call and come wandering in to ask you a question, usually related to food of all things! Memories of Professor Robert Kelly and his endearing children hijacking a live BBC interview back in 2017 come to mind…
If you have stepped off that reasonably safe ledge of teleconferencing and are using video conferencing instead, the challenge might be trying to set up the environment around you so it is reasonably professional. I have been on calls where the blinds are closed behind a person so they are practically in darkness; there are odd curtains hanging on the window, or the pictures were wonky. Let’s not mention the indoor laundry issues…In all honesty, it makes it more personal and real and helps us all realise we are human and the work environment can be a false persona. I was talking to a colleague where in their company, they were holding virtual beer video calls at 6pm, which sounds like a fabulous idea.
It has also been a week where the change curve has really kicked in. Before Covid-19, for most of us, the world was a relatively stable environment. Then comes a series of major changes, one after another. We suddenly have a period of immobilisation, resulting in a sense of fear, confusion, and feeling overwhelmed. As the changes begin to settle in – as I think they are now – we start to adjust to a new norm. It is not normal, but we learn, adapt and move on.
Here at MDB Service Consulting, we are all working from home; using technology to continue the business – remote teleconferencing, video calls (with wonky curtains which I subsequently fixed), and, yes, emails. Our customers have adapted to the new ways of working and we are actively supporting them.
So as we head towards more of the same, let us know what you’ve learned from the lockdown. It’s a time for us all to reset how we do things. You can count on us to be by your side.
Head of Transformation Services at MDB SERVICE CONSULTING LIMITED