After saying goodbye to my colleagues at the office on 17th March 2020, I honestly thought I would be seeing them again in a few weeks’ time. I was in total denial that the world was about to be locked down and life as we knew it would change drastically.
In the beginning, we were working from home and trying to make our workdays as normal as possible, so we continued our daily morning meetings and made sure we were checking in on each other. However, it wasn’t long before we really started to miss being in the office together bouncing ideas around, asking questions, talking about the latest TV dramas and what we are having for dinner – food is a favourite topic in our office! Then, furlough happened…
Once Boris and Rishi introduced this scheme, we knew we were in this situation for the long haul. Anthony made the selfless decision to put the team on furlough so that the company could survive and we would all have jobs to go back to once the lockdown ended. He had to take on everybody’s workload including mine…the administration. Now, Anthony hasn’t had to worry about the administration side of things for a long time and I know he hates it! Whenever I go on holiday, he makes it very clear how happy he is when I come back. I had mixed emotions about him taking over my work – I felt extremely guilty about not being able to help him, and also a teensy bit worried about what I might come back to ha ha!
Luckily, although we were furloughed, we were still able to take part in training sessions for our new CRM. We were very excited when we invested in this amazing new system before lockdown, but we underestimated how difficult it was going to be trying to figure out how to use it over Teams calls and emails. I was trying my best to set up the back end and make sure everything worked as it should, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating at times.
Besides these training sessions, I didn’t really have anything else to do. I have never been ‘unemployed’ and I suddenly had all of this free time on my hands and no idea what to do with myself. Thanks to the amazing weather we had, I spent pretty much every day in the garden reading and listening to music. I (along with the rest of the UK) would then head out for a long walk in the afternoon. I am extremely grateful that I have so many beautiful Royal gardens, fields and woods to explore so close to home as I always felt better and more relaxed having been outdoors in the fresh air.
One thing I did want to do was to work on my baking which is something I have always loved. I started making brownies, macaroons, loaf cakes and so much more. My other half certainly didn’t complain about coming home to a different sweet treat every other day. Speaking of my other half, he decided I was going to be his personal barber for the foreseeable future. I will admit, it was quite fun using the clippers the first few times, but then I got a little bit ambitious and attempted a skin fade. He didn’t ask me again!
When lockdown was lifted, we started working one day a week in the office on a rota system. It was lovely seeing Allison and Charlotte again after such a long time but very strange not to be able to give them a hug. It felt so good to be working again and getting back into a routine, but we were fully aware that the possibility of another lockdown was high.
Like many other people I have spoken to, I thought this lockdown would be easy as we have all been through it before. Unfortunately, this time we haven’t had the beautiful spring and summer weather to cheer us up. Instead, we have been sat inside most days whilst it’s been raining, and those beautiful fields are now flooded. I’m glad that I managed a couple of ‘socially distanced’ summer staycations and got to see some of my family and friends before this happened for the second time and I am hopeful that we will get to do that again this year.
I am looking forward to getting back to work with my amazing team, but for now all we can do is stay positive, healthy and safe and know that we will be back to some sort of normal soon.