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“Its Life Jim But Not As We Know It”

This phrase has often been wrongly attributed to the series Star Trek, but has actually never been spoken in the series, but neatly describes our current new norm.

When lockdown came, lawyers’ firms like myself stared in disbelief at the news that a pandemic, the likes of which we had never seen before, was about to strike.

From one day normal to the next surreal, we felt like bit parts in the Towering Inferno disaster film or Contagion or the Poseidon Adventure all rolled into one.

How quickly could we get out?    Where could we go?  How could we get hold of twenty-four high speed laptops without being ripped off?  What was a revelin 4m cat 7a ultra cable and where did one put it?

We had to abandon our offices and tear ourselves from our multi page printers to our individual desert islands or home working with single sheet printers and Zoom communications.

Our psyche’s were filled with dread, remote working, who did that?  We now did.

At first there was the usual “I want what they’ve got”, banter until everyone realised they were all getting the same and with new laptops and printers came great responsibility, accuracy!

No longer could spelling mistakes be tolerated or an email not printed off.  With lockdown has come a new emergence, an absolute desire to get it right, to perform even better and to act as one united team.

Not that we did not do so before, but whatever good qualities were there before have been enhanced with everyone acutely aware that to survive this nightmare we have to do even better.  Gold stars all around.

As a boss during Covid, I have become acutely aware that leadership in these times is crucial.  Everyone feels scared and the reassurance must come from the top.  Erm, that’s me. 

Understanding the fears of your staff is absolutely paramount, as is the need for them all to be able to share their worries openly without fear of being perceived as paranoid or ridiculous.  Talking to staff to give them hope during these times, I believe is the key, motivation is always a buzz word in these uncertain times.

If each member of staff believes that they have a role to play and can throw themselves into it, they feel infinitely better than those who fear Furlough.

None of my staff have been furloughed, I hope they feel nurtured and appreciated.

However, the real bête noire is returning to the workplace.  No matter what directives the Government have given, unbottling fear is not one of them.

My staff will be virtually doused in anti-bac gel, before they arrive, as they come into the office, wall mounted foam soap will fall from the four corners.  Masks will dangle down in readiness like oxygen masks in an aeroplane and surgical gloves will make us look like a pre-prep operating theatre.

No matter how much we deep clean “what about the toilets I hear them cry”, how do I keep them all 100% safe.  We won’t use the fridge or the kettle or the water coolers. We won’t have teas shared together from cups, we won’t share pens, desks or computers but what can we do?

In my view keep our rubber covered fingers crossed and pray.

As Captain Kirk would say

“we are not alone”.

 

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