We have just passed one month in lockdown. Morecrofts’ managing partner Alison Lobb reflects on some key lessons we have learnt in the last 30 days.
The impossible is possible – but you must act fast
Just three months ago, if you told me I would be moving more than 100 staff to home-working, while keeping a business running, I’d have waited for the punchline.
Here I am, just having hosted a management meeting via video link, sitting in my home office wearing casual clothes.
None of us were given much time to decide how to adapt to a lockdown. We were thrown into this new way of life with little warning and had to act on our wits and use what we had to hand. A bit like “Ready Steady Cook” with technology instead of food!Luckily, Morecrofts invested in a large-scale IT upgrade in January of this year, so when I turned to my partners and said ‘we are moving the firm out of the office’ I could do so with confidence (okay, I was hiding my terrified side).
Overnight we spoke to every single Morecrofts person. We ensured they had the technology available to them, we shipped computers out to people’s homes, we spoke to tech suppliers to ensure communications would be as simple as possible, we created a ‘post-checking’ rota for each of our six branch offices and we notified thousands of clients of the changes.
We shifted the plates of the business so quickly, that no one had time to question decisions or delay the inevitable. I’ll be forever proud of how our people reacted and pulled together to make this work.
We are all more commercially aware
The companies seen to be taking unnecessary advantage of government support packages, not treating their staff in the right way and using scare tactics to tout for business are being shamed.
It’s interesting to see how many people are pledging not to use certain services or brands in the future.
From a business owner’s point of view, we have taken great care to ensure our messaging is one of comfort and understanding, while offering the support and advice when we can. As a firm which has people at its heart, there is nothing more important than the welfare of our team.
At the same time, we need to ensure we can still pay the bills to keep our people in jobs and provide our service, in the long-term.
Commercial awareness is more significant than ever before.
We are closer than ever
Although we are socially distancing, with the ‘forced’ use of video calls, we are seeing many people more often than we would in a normal working month.
The convenience of setting up Zoom meetings has taken our ability to communicate to a new level, and it’s a breath of fresh air.
We created a Morecrofts’ firm-wide WhatsApp group, and I am learning more about our people than I ever knew. I know what their houses look like, I see their children and their pets, I have learnt about some fascinating hobbies and interests.
We are seeing each other in a new light, and I believe in the future this will make all our working relationships even stronger than before.
We are all learning more about what we can do
Being forced to fall back our own resources and solve our own problems has led us all to learn far more about ourselves and what we are capable of.
My primary school had a motto; “They Can, Because They Think They Can”. That has never been more meaningful. We are all finding out about our inner resilience and what we can achieve, with or without a little help.
We are also learning what really is important to us, and what we can live without, both personally and in business.
I firmly believe that when this is over, we will all emerge, blinking, into a new world, where many things may have changed, but we will have the skills and abilities to cope with that. Call it a type of very rapid evolution.
Also, let’s be honest – if you haven’t taken part in a virtual quiz, exercise class or pub session, have you even been on lockdown? More new skills to take forward into our brave new world….