During lockdown, achieving the right balance between work and life has been almost impossible. Our homes have become an office, a gym, a school and a place to socialise with friends and family. Life and work have merged into one.
This can be challenging, not least with twin boys to entertain while juggling every Zoom and conference call required in my job, but it also means I have seen striking parallels in how to manage my role as a dad and my role as a boss.
While I don’t necessarily mean introducing a naughty step at Aldermore, a key lesson from lockdown for me is how we can learn from one aspect of your life and apply it to others.
I am reading with my five-year-old sons the Usborne collection My First Reading Library as I want to ignite in them the same spark of imagination that reading ignited in me.
I will not recount all 50 stories, but each holds a common theme around sharing, empathy and being supportive to one another. A key lesson for children, and one seen across the country in lockdown as communities came together and we saw immense good spirit despite a stressful and difficult time.
One of the stories, The Rabbit’s Tale – retold by Lynne Benton – focuses on a rabbit who is not happy with his home, as he thinks it is too small, so he asks a wise, old owl for advice. Instead of recommending moving, the owl suggests the rabbit invite all his friends and family over for tea, so he does so.
Unfortunately, the rabbit has many friends and family and soon his house is full to the brim. With so many crowded in for tea, the rabbit feels even more cramped.
But when they finally finish their visit and all leave, the rabbit suddenly feels overwhelmed at how much space he has, and he comes to appreciate his home more.
Looking at things with new perspective, as the rabbit did, is what a lot of us have been doing recently.
Working in lockdown has meant seeing my people at Aldermore in a new light. With every Zoom meeting, you see into their homes and glimpse at their family life and we feel more connected to each other.
This, too, rubs off on how we work: understanding our customers’ needs and challenges focuses us on doing what we can to best help them, and this remains front of my mind during this difficult time.
There are a lot of learnings to be had from economic textbooks or the latest sci-fi novel, but what I’ve found is it is as much about who you enjoy the book with as the book itself. As life and work merge, the lessons I learn with my children are the lessons I hold front of mind in how we do business.
Like the rabbit, we are all appreciating our homes more and like the owl, I seek to understand my colleagues and customers more to ensure we support them.