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Finding a Work-Life Balance during Lockdown

By 12th May 2020Blog

The coronavirus pandemic has meant big changes to how we all work and live, and we have all had to quickly learn and adapt to fast-changing circumstances.

For many of us that means working from home while juggling family life. We spoke to three colleagues about their experiences of working during these challenging times, and what they’re doing to try and maintain a positive work/life balance.

We have recently launched CHROMA, our new diversity and inclusion platform, which is enabling us to learn from our colleagues diverse backgrounds and experiences. Supporting our colleagues on all matters, including mental health is the top of our agenda. Find out more about CHROMA here.

William Heaney

Business Director-Technical Services

What has been your experience of life during lockdown?

Like everyone else my daily work and home life routines have changed significantly. The pressures of keeping on top of work during such an intense period while helping my wife to home school my young children, attempting lockdown haircuts and not being able to see my parents and friends- it’s all been difficult. Trying to run three to four times a week, and playing Zoom Poker on a Friday night with my friends have helped get me through.

Of course, everything is put into perspective when we consider the losses some families have suffered through this tragedy. My wife is a frontline worker in the NHS and is caring for patients struck down with this terrible virus. Her experiences will live with her for a lifetime.

How different has it been doing your job in the current circumstances, and what have the challenges been?

I think it is fair to say very few of us have ever worked in such unprecedented times. There was a week-long period towards the end of March where everyone was in a state of shock.

We had to take decisive action to safeguard our business and employees, and to engage with customers to meet interim contract deliverables and KPIs, with particular attention to the implementation of sustainable energy strategy changes for unoccupied or partially used buildings, delivering best practice engineering maintenance for essential, critical and high risk HVAC systems, and tailoring cleaning and security regimes which aligned to our customers requirements. Latterly our business has been at the forefront of structuring an exit strategy, delivering assurance services such as Thermal Temperature Scanning and Fogging Services as a preventative measure to COVID-19.

The single biggest challenge has been having to scale back our delivery model and management teams due to customer estate shrinkage. To instantly hit the brakes and downscale operations was a huge decision. There have been no winners in the process; great, hard-working people who want to help our business have had to be placed on furlough, and those retained in the business are working at greater capacity with wider responsibilities, all while balancing a home life fraught with home schooling, childcare or uncertainty.

What are you most looking forward to doing again post lockdown?

The simple things which I used to take for granted, like visiting my parents, sisters, niece and nephew and friends, going out for a meal to TGIs or McDonalds with the wife and kids or going to the pub for a pint and watching the football with my friends. Although lockdown life has been difficult, one upside is that I have had the chance to spend much more time with my wife and children.


Linsie West

Strategic Research

How different has it been doing your job in the current circumstances, and what have the challenges been?

Working from home was already part of my working week, but the main difference for me has been the lack of contact with both my colleagues and clients. The challenge for me is managing all the quick changes of direction that have to be made, and ensuring I schedule in time to take regular breaks when I can, as it is so easy to just carry on working regardless.

What has been your experience of life during lockdown?

I think the lack of contact with my two girls, one of whom is pregnant with her first child, has been one of the hardest things to cope with. Zoom calls are great but cannot replace the things we used to take for granted, like a hug and a kiss. I have fully embraced gardening and cooking, the two things I least like to do, but I’m unlikely to keep these up! I now ride my birthday bike every day, which has been in the shed for five years gathering dust, and I have nearly completed a 1000 piece jigsaw, something I haven’t done since my girls were very young… which was a long time ago! As a chocoholic who gave up eating chocolate during February and part of March in aid of the British Heart Foundation, I made sure the fridge was stocked up!

What are you most looking forward to doing again post lockdown?

Seeing, kissing and hugging both of my girls and having a Mr Whippy 99 with raspberry sauce (enjoying a Magnum in the garden has had to do in the meantime!)


Sophie Ransome

Employment Counsel

How different has it been doing your job in the current circumstances, and what have the challenges been?

Employment law moves at a rapid rate and is constantly developing so I am used to having to adapt quickly. However, the impact of COVID-19 on employment law is like nothing that I have encountered before. The term ‘unprecedented’ has been used so much during the pandemic but there really is no better way to describe what we are dealing with. The introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a significant lifeline for many businesses and employees but there’s no doubt that putting an entirely new legal concept of furlough into practice and working out how this fits alongside existing well-established employment law principles has been a huge challenge. Like all businesses, we have had to learn as we go along, make plans based on pre-empting what the government’s position will be, and being ready to act quickly in response to the numerous developments or changes in direction that have taken place. Doing all of this from home should have been a significant challenge but given the size of Atalian Servest and what we do, it’s rare that everyone you may need to speak with is actually in the office on the same day anyway so we’re used to using technology. What I’m less used to is having an over excited toddler bursting into my new home office at various times throughout the day-but I know I’m not alone in that!

What has been your experience of life during lockdown?

Like many people, I would say I spent the first couple of weeks of lockdown over indulging and taking advantage of my new home desk being in close proximity to my kitchen (as well as placing far too many Amazon purchases, simply because I still could!) But after a couple of weeks it was clear I needed a bit more routine and I’ve also made a conscious effort to make sure I get some fresh air and do some exercise every day. Differentiating between what is a weekday and weekend has also been good for me. When it comes to weekends, I usually try to cook at least one new meal and make sure I’ve got a Zoom catch up diarised with friends or family to see some different faces. Online dinner parties, cocktails and quizzes have definitely become the norm now.

What are you most looking forward to doing again post lockdown?

The appropriate answer should be seeing friends and family in person but the honest answer is being reunited with my hairdresser!

We also caught up with some of our colleagues who have been at home throughout the Coronavirus period to find out how they’re coping during these times of significant change. Click here to read more:

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