Returning to office life post-lockdown

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

At last, we were released from lockdown in Wales and the team came back into the office to work.

Great relief on my part after having to cover numerous tasks – even though I was aware staff were doing the best they could with limited resources (no printers, scanners, only one screen) alongside the limitations of working from home, especially if they have a young family.

The office was fogged and misted. We bought every form of sanitiser possible and ensured that social distancing could be maintained by juggling some of the seats around and we were good to go.

But it was not a case of returning to the office and carrying on as before.

Yes, we had maintained ‘business as usual’ as far as possible, but we had to recognise that things would change for us all after working remotely for nearly five months.

Some were pretty keen to get back to some form of structure and looked forward to the companionship that a workplace brings, and a bit of office banter – but there were schools and nurseries to consider who had not yet fully opened up, if at all.

If there had been concerns about getting the virus these were soon waylaid, as once back in the office it could be seen that we had all appropriate measures in place. Some of our staff had actually had coronavirus, and I took the antibody test, which proved positive.

By now we were using Microsoft Teams, regularly using Zoom and Glance and able to persuade our clients that this new IT was not so difficult at all.

So new scripts had to be learnt and ways of getting information to people quickly. Our client portal is currently being tested and will be up and running soon.

If I had to think of a word that would sum up this strange period that we were all experiencing, it would be ‘flexibility’.

We could not stay as we were, we could not continue with some of the same processes and we could not expect all the team to come in every day, nine to five; adjustments had to be made and made they were, quickly and with everyone’s effort.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth