Taking the positives out of lockdown: Our team in 2021

24 Feb 2021

Taking the positives out of Lockdown: Our team in 2021
Penny Fitzpatrick

Covid-19 has brought us all to a position we never imagined; lockdown and soaring death rates have left the country in a terrible state and fundamentally altered our way of working.

I have had to pinch myself sometimes. After my husband was ill over Christmas, he thankfully recovered, I was left reminded of my northern roots. I can hear my dear mum saying we should always see the glass half full and be thankful for what we have.

Lockdown, Covid-19 and working with the team remotely has been really tough for so many, but we have really tried to bring some real positives out of the new working norm. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a slog, and some days it feels never ending, but there are some good bits we can celebrate and positives we can all take forward.

We have refocused the Fuse team on the positives post lockdown, when we’re ready to come out the other side happier, vaccinated against the virus and more appreciative. If a little larger around the waistline!

So, here are some of our take forward positives:


Our morning catch-ups have been great during lockdown. Our associate, James, was chatting with me about how he feels that in many respects we talk more often than we did when we were all in the office. We did of course, have our weekly catchups here and there, but now we really feel like we are checking in with each other. We’re usually having a laugh about our sense of dress (we strangely enough often seem to all turn up wearing the same colours), not to mention the dubious home hair trims.

We have also all enjoyed the virtual planning committees. We can all dial in and see the process which makes for good evening entertainment in lockdown. We had a great one this week with Greenwich, 2 schemes approved, which we were all able to watch live on YouTube!

Clients and new connections

Our business meetings, new and old Teams/Zoom chats have been great. We have met, avoided the travel and transportation issues (we haven’t missed these), and actually had some great conversations and business meetings with some amazing people. We’ve connected on a real personal level, seeing inside homes, studied shelves, pets and children and all adopted from time to time! We are genuinely keen to see the Teams/Zoom world continue, if it makes for more efficiency in the future.


We have also used this time to focus on real values that are important to us as a team. We’ve been helping (with Covid-19 restrictions) at food banks, homeless centres, school lap top initiatives and local charities. We have really made this part of our lives and again, it’s something we hope to continue post lockdown.

Family stuff

Enjoying time with our family at our homes and a focus on work life balance has been a big plus for so many of us. One of our architects, Andrew, drove back to Ireland for Christmas and is still there today working remotely. Another 2 of us are planning moves to the countryside and our attitude now is ‘let’s go for it’. We’ve proved we can actually work productively, remotely with regular days in the office, and we can’t honestly see us all returning full time. The entire Fuse team have full IT kit at home and have quickly managed to use bim cloud sharing to work collaboratively. We have extended this philosophy into us thinking about how we design, including home study / office areas, as well as thinking about break out spaces, outdoor places and flexible living. One of our associates, Matt, has built an office in his garden. He repurposed a shed that was being dumped and has created a great working space.

Social buzz

We have been Netwalking, which is meeting each other if we can walk there. It’s been great to use this time for exercise and work too.

Online socials have become a really cool thing for us. We’ve done quizzes and coffees, beers on a Friday; we have embraced and enjoyed, and we are now looking at sing -alongs and dance parties!

It’s been really noticeable how many more meals we need to have indoors. We all remember the £4 sandwich from Pret, or the pricey lunch in town, which has really made us think about what we are eating. We are now focussing on food and sharing recipes for quick, easy and economical recipes. Dave is baking cakes, Andrew is making sourdough, James a beef stew and Howard made a few pies. We are also taking these recipe ideas to local community places to also help local food banks and charities with menus and cooking ideas.

We are a people first practice, and we have all tried to reach out to help our collective and individual mental health. We’ve realised the little things can make a real difference, connecting, calling, complimenting and caring. We try to remind ourselves social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.