A day in the life of Aidan during lockdown.
How are you?
Lockdown hasn’t been as hard on me and my family as it has on some. My eldest son is furiously working on his finals at University; my middle son (who is autistic) is taking some time out after dropping out of college so this is quite timely; my youngest is a digital native so has taken to e-schooling like a duck to water, and is moving up to senior school in September anyway (we have a 2-tier system in Northumberland). As for me and for my wife, well not that much has changed: I work from home most of the time anyway and Emma doesn’t work as she has MS, so she’s well-used to being unable to travel etc. The sunny weather has helped immensely!
Can you tell us what you are working on?
I have quite a diverse portfolio of projects: I’m working with a leading Product Management training company to develop their consultancy offer; I’m a Non-Executive Director for an edtech startup; I’m incubating an idea for a disruptive new community services marketplace in partnership with a mobile telco, and of course I’m advising DtL Creative’s clients on IT and technology strategy. One such project is an options appraisal for a Housing Association that has been investing in Microsoft Dynamics, but after a few years wants to weigh up all alternatives before continuing.
Want difficulties does this bring with the current situation and lockdown?
When investigating complex organisational issues, sometimes face-to-face is best because you can pick up on body language, hidden meanings and political context. You can learn things in an in-person meeting that would never be put into writing. However as people have started to adjust to the reality of social distancing, they have become more accustomed to communicating via Zoom, Teams or Meet and are learning how to make this work effectively.
Generally, how has work been affected?
As with any situation, you can see the glass as half empty or half full! The biggest problem I’ve experienced in recent weeks has been a widespread reluctance to make decisions or to commit to projects. This is very understandable given the circumstances, but as people have begun to realise that we won’t be going “back to normal” any time soon, they’re realising that they might as well continue with forward progress. On the plus side, I haven’t missed driving on motorways or sitting on delayed trains, and have managed to be very productive indeed!
How do you see work patterns developing after we get out of the current restrictions?
I expect a lot of people and organisations that were resistant to using digital tools such as video conferencing, online collaboration tools (Google G Suite, Microsoft Office365) and more advanced tech such as AR will have been forced to update their approach due to lockdown. In my experience such resistance is often due to fear of the unknown, and as people have had no choice but to try new things, they will hopefully find that life is easier and more pleasant due to reduced commuting time, pollution etc. From an organisational point of view, many employers will have been forced to trust their staff to work from home; perhaps this may have accelerated a move towards flexible working and concentration on outcomes instead of output (there, I didn’t even say “agile”). The dramatic events unfolding in our society every day over the last few months may also have encouraged people to think more about the meaning of what they do, and its true value to their lives.