From his 'Bat Cave', Assured Futures’ commercial director reflects on the ups and downs of lockdown
It is hard to believe that it's just been just over a month now since the UK was put on lockdown to keep us safe from COVID-19.
While Assured Futures has been business continuity planning for many years, this extraordinary situation has tested us in so many ways. With most employees now working from home and only a few skeleton staff in the office, we are proud to say we are operating business as usual.
Those who know me will understand that working from home does not come naturally. I enjoy and thrive in team environments, so being a lone worker was always going to be a challenge.
I have a home office within the annex of my home in Cricklade which has previously been called the ‘Bat Cave' by my teen age sons. Just before lockdown I made sure I had everything I needed in the Bat Cave, so I now have access to my computer, my three screens, printer, scanner and I even have equipment ready to become the post and scanning room for the entire operation (gosh my teenagers will be busy!).
The first week at home was challenging, and the biggest hurdle was learning and getting to grips with Microsoft Teams. Why could the team only see my forehead? Why don't we have any sound? And just how did Graham get a blurred background? It took a short while to get the hang of it, but I am pleased to say I am now a semi-pro and I have daily video calls with both my commercial team and senior leadership team to go through the day's activities.
I am a creature of habit and even at home I have been maintaining a high level of structure. My day usually starts at 8am and I only take a short break for lunch, or if it's a fasting day (I enjoy the 5-2 diet) it's often just a coffee in the garden. I am lucky to have my office set up at home, so my day feels like it's an extension of working at Assured Futures HQ. I even took an Assured Futures sign home to put on the back wall of the office, much to my team's amusement.
Lockdown has been tough on us all and hit many families hard, which is why I am also committed to family time during this crisis. I live with my wife and three children, and since lockdown we have created ‘8pm Movie Night' where we sit down together to watch a film every evening. So far, we have seen all the Marvel films, the Harry Potters and we are half way through the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Our movie nights are important and mean we look forward to the evening and spending some much-needed chill time together and a break from the home schooling too.
This virus isn't going to last forever (come on NoVAD aka No Virus Anymore Day) and one day it will all be a memory. We need to create and build a positive and long-lasting community ethos during this time, as well as get to grips with Microsoft Teams, just like me! 😉
Ian Sawyer is commercial director of Assured Futures