Lockdown Lethargy

17 Dec 2020

How to be okay with lockdown lethargy

As a busy growing practice, we have been hampered by nearly a year of lockdown, it’s been a real slog, but we are clear on our philosophy. People are our first priority; that’s our people and the people we design and go on to build for. We apply this #peoplefirst lens to everything we do, namely how anything affects, impacts and improves the lives of us all. We ensure all voices are heard and we collectively make a difference.

We have had to react to the challenges that have emerged over this year and help our team prioritise. Lockdown has led to lethargy, that’s a fact, and it's also been difficult with our schemes slowing down as well as others being put on hold. We've all seen changes in our working patterns.

One of our key drivers has been to be kind to eachother during this exceptionally stressful time. To be honest, we have had to reset expectations, by recognising that it may not always be feasible to be fully productive with everything going on in the world and, importantly, that this is understandable.

Does working from home actually work?

With the working from home scenario, (which we have embraced really well, despite being sceptical about how efficient people were from home), we are often seeing longer days and the working week spreading into the weekend, as we meet deadlines, new schemes and new work streams emerge. We are working hard on focussing our energy on the most critical tasks, keeping in mind unique barriers that we might face (dependents at home, concern about high-risk family or friends, fear because of health high-risk, economic barriers that make working from home difficult, or anything else). In some cases, this means postponing non-essential projects or redistributing work.

We aim to set clear expectations and norms. Especially when working as a distributed team, it can be challenging to strike the right balance of oversight and autonomy.

Feeling lonely...

With our move to working from home, we have empowered everyone with an office chair, full IT equipment and a work from home allowance. We honestly can’t see us fully returning to the office for some time, if ever on a full time basis. That being said, we miss people, and loneliness is a real issue. We are looking for ways in which we can all meet up in person, social distancing and tackling any travel issues.

Equality and diversity, smashing the glass ceiling

We are proud to have a strong female lead in the practice, with Penny as one of our main equity directors, and a philosophy of parity of earnings across gender is a fundamental to us. Equally, we are proud to have ethnic diversity in the team from India to Ireland and Malaysia. We are a good global cross section and we are keen to develop this as we grow in 2021 – it also makes for friendly rivalries during the world cup.

Mental health and the well-being is a huge priority for us. We listen and react and have a climate for people to express and grow. We try hard to accommodate family life, inclusion of flexible working (this has never been more relevant than in the lockdown) and understand that not all families/people have the same needs.

People are different, building inclusive cultures

We also embrace neuro diversity and understand that not everyone processes or interacts in the same way. Our experience has shown that neuro diverse people frequently need different strategic input, such as headphones to prevent auditory overstimulation, to activate or maximally leverage their abilities. Sometimes people exhibit challenging eccentricities. We have found these challenges manageable and the returns are great.

We make a point of connecting with eachother. We have morning catch up meetings, weekly informal coffees (no shop talk allowed), work presentations and monthly one-to-ones with everyone in the team. Everyone has a voice and everyone is supported. We believe that listening is key and we ask eachother how we can help, what support is needed as well as having a hardship fund available for financial help if needed.

We are growing our tribe, our gang, our family, so this philosophy and approach is absolutely key to our future. #peoplefirst