When we first started to see the impact of the virus outbreak, initially this seemed to be just happening elsewhere until we heard the announcement to enter lockdown and we all had to reassess our professional and personal situations.
The decision was made that from Thursday 26th March we would be working from home and at first it was an exciting thought but then the realization set in, where had my support network gone? We are so used to in the office sharing experience, talking through cases and just having those chats and banter that make being at work fun!
During these scary, challenging times I found myself needing support both professionally and personally more than any other time.
Professionally - what is furlough?, when this was first announced I have to admit I looked on Google to see exactly what is was and what it meant. I then realised that a lot of our clients would probably be in the same situation as me and not only did we have to learn how to pronounce it but also how it would impact everyone. The first couple of days/nights I had all different scenarios running through my head and every client had a different situation and we worked together to get the best result for them, whether that was furlough some staff, some departments or full shut down. It was frustrating as the guidance and information changed almost daily and so as fast as you learned how that may impact our clients the goal posts were moved!
Our helpline was ringing off the hook even though we had been early in communicating to all our clients what we would do to help and that we were contacting each one of them individually, I have never seen every single office phone ringing at the same time as mobiles ringing constantly. As a team we put in the hours needed to get through these calls quickly to try and reassure our clients that we can work with them to have a plan to get through this. This was much harder when as a team we were remote, the support we take for granted just isn't there so we had to be creative about having twice daily zoom calls and using our messenger service for any burning questions as we were all on the phones all the time so couldn't get through to each other!
Slowly over the weeks since this was announced everyone is aware of furlough and what they can do to help themselves, their business and their staff. Next will come the challenging part of actually getting claims submitted.
The support required has not just come from Sarah and Amy but also from clients who have taken a couple of minutes before they ask their query to ask how I am, normally its was a quick “how are you?” but now it is “how are you holding up and who is there for you if you are helping me” Its been really emotional and rewarding when we have had so many heartfelt thank yous from clients - it keeps us all going fighting the good fight.
Personally. This is a really hard time as my partner is a key worker and is facing this virus daily, seeing people pass away and I am checking his temperature every day. I have become his support and we have 45 minutes each at the end of the day to talk about how we are feeling. I honestly believe this is helping, although we both end up crying.
Working from home is different not sure of that is good or bad.
- Good - because I can have the fresh air, my style of music on in the background and can concentrate on what I am doing with no distraction and find I am getting through work quicker.
- Bad - I have no one to share issues with miss the debates we have in the office and I have found I am talking to myself more, why do things make sense when said out loud? It’s too easy to grab something to eat and the kitchen table and chairs are not as comfortable as first thought.
As in any crisis we have to adapt and as a team and at home we have done, I will be glad to get back to what was normal but in the meantime we keep working hard to support each other.
Anyway, hope everyone is keeping safe and if anyone wants some HR advice please give me a ring, if anything it will keep me away from the biscuits and left over Easter eggs.
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