“We are on calls quite often. I also catch-up with the team at least once a week. But whereas three months ago my office door was physically open, and we could see each other’s faces, we now use technology a lot more.”
While getting used to online communication with her team was seamless, moving large-scale traditional board and management meetings online was more of a challenge, from training directors to use Microsoft Teams or organising meetings that could fit everyone’s schedule. ”We have now held Board meetings with some of our senior leaders attending, which included 13 different ‘home’ locations in four different time zones. It was a challenge, but it worked.”
It is difficult to predict what working in London and the UK will look like in the future.
“I expect reliance on the office will decrease, but the Board will still need to meet in person. They only meet a handful of times each year and it will be key to preserve that interaction.”
"The alarm doesn’t go off at 5:30 in the morning anymore,” Alison laughs. “I used to be on the 06:47 train coming into London. Now my commute is a walk to our spare bedroom."
Keep calm and carry on
The patterns of everyday life have been challenged as much as our working ones. For Alison, the well-known British ‘keep calm and carry on’ mantra fully applies.
“Family and friends have really made an effort to have virtual calls. We do quizzes, virtual brunches, we still interact. It is different, but it is a great way to keep in touch. It’s quite insightful how we cope and how we, well, just ‘get on with it’.”
And is there a silver lining to the situation that turned our lives upside-down?
“The alarm doesn’t go off at 5:30 in the morning anymore,” Alison laughs. “I used to be on the 06:47 train coming into London. Now my commute is a walk to our spare bedroom.”
Although the alarm clock was pushed back, Alison and her colleagues still work at a high pace and truly put our ‘responsive’ and ‘driven to deliver’ values in action. As for the Annual General Meeting, three people or 300, the British hospitality was not amiss. “I still served biscuits,” Alison says, as “no AGM would be complete without them!”.