As lockdown measures start to ease, the team at LRM has begun to reflect on the past 14 weeks of lockdown and the lessons learnt.
Technologically, we were exceptionally well set up to cope with the working from home requirements put in place by government protocol. All our team have always worked from laptops on a cloud-based file storage system, meaning that it was commonplace before the pandemic for us to undertake agile working – from home, from a café between meetings, etc. – pre-lockdown. This resulted in a seamless transition, especially as our electronic filing system has long since taken precedent over paper files.
Further, around half our team were already well-versed in using Microsoft Teams, for both short-form correspondence and, more importantly, video conferencing. So, in effect, those in the know were able to act as teachers for the rest of the team. That ability to teach would come in handy for the parents amongst the team during lockdown.
We have continued to use Teams, Zoom, Google Meet and other such platforms throughout lockdown, for project team meetings as well as our own team meetings, quizzes, general catch-ups and the like, making sure that we stayed in touch as much as possible.
That desire to ensure team spirit remained strong has manifested itself in other ways too, with two LRM Spotify playlists having been compiled – eclectic mixes, to say the least – and various other team-building exercises undertaken.
Aside from our charity run for the NHS – more of which elsewhere on our website – some members of the team also challenged each other to running distance challenges for the month of June. Another positive way to keep camaraderie up, and an effective one, based on the team’s WhatsApp group conversations.
Alongside keeping team spirit up, it has obviously been crucial to maintain business continuity and high levels of service to our clients and contacts. We have managed to adapt to the unfortunate and unexpected circumstances as well as could be expected in order to achieve this goal, something the senior management team are especially proud of.
A sense of routine has been important for many of us too – in some cases especially so for those juggling childcare, albeit perhaps that is when the notion of a routine is most likely to go by the wayside. Lack of staples of the working day, such as the commute, a professional dress code, and the school run, have all played into the challenges of maintaining professionalism and accountability, but we believe we’ve overcome these issues and delivered consistently through this time.
All this time, we are also mindful of the public sector workers in our industry, who we frequently and positively engage with, but whose systems of working are not always able to be as agile and dynamic as those of a small consultancy like LRM. We are grateful to all the public sector workers who have been putting in the hours, many whilst working against technological constraints, to maintain a high level of service and remain responsive.
So where will we go from here, as lockdown measures begin to ease? Some of us have expressed an interest in more home-working, and others have stated an intention to commute more sustainably, having enjoyed the quiet roads and improved exercise regimes. With a distinct relaxation in dress code on video calls – and why not? – perhaps this will translate to offices nationwide, albeit there will still be times where we will have to dig out our ties or smart blazers.
Whether this pandemic has expedited trends for working from home or conducting more video conferences, what is clear is that LRM are well-equipped to tackle whatever the industry throws at us. We have been open for business throughout lockdown, and though things will be different on the other side, we hope to come out of it just as strong as we were before.