A day in the life of Stewart during lockdown

How are you? 

A bit up and down like I imagine most people are, I have welcomed the slower pace of life as its only on reflection that I have realised that I was living to work, so a reset  and re-balance was in order. Its also nice as I have all the kids at home, the eldest came back from Uni just before lockdown, as this year sees our youngest go to Plymouth Uni so its great to have them knocking around the house and annoying the hell out of me! I’ve also achieved a life goal…no its not learning a new language or playing an instrument, I finally achieved the top rank of 155 in Call of Duty! 

The one downside to all this is that I hadn’t recognised how much I enjoy getting out and meeting people, listening to their stories, hearing their issues and concerns. Teams, Zoom and Skype etc are all well and good, but physically being with someone, having a coffee and a spirited discussion or debate is something I am really missing at the moment. 

Can you tell us what you are working on? 

Some days are a bit hectic whereas there are more ‘gaps’ in my diary than before. A lot of my time is spent working with a major software supplier on their messaging, marketing and sales approach. I look forward to the sessions with the team and nudging them into thinking differently about themselves, their business and their customers.  

I am routinely in comms with a number of startups, across a wide range of tech disciplines, providing mentoring services to founders, advising on marketing, sales, product and general business strategy/process as well as supporting HA’s look at emerging technology, specifically around Augmented Reality, which seems to have attracted a lot of attention in the sector. 

Somehow I am also finding the time to continue in my voluntary board memberships with the most challenging being the Chair of a maintenance subsidiary for a HA as the issues have changed sometime daily and this has meant many a last minute virtual board meeting to make far reaching decisions, just like every other business out there. 

What difficulties does this bring with the current situation and lockdown? 

As previously mentioned the lack of face to face is proving difficult personally, and, understandably, in the first few weeks all organisations, tech suppliers and HA’s, were focussing on maintaining their operations in the new way of working we have all had to adapt to.  

 Having a conversation around the future proved difficult initially but as inevitable routine has settled in a number of suppliers and HA’s have now reached out to explore the potential of working with DtL. 
Generally, how has work been affected? 

Less travel, which is never a bad thing, the monthly expenses bill has vanished which will make Dave happy! Seriously, there has been much more time to be measured and considered, also it has shown the value in delivering consultancy that isn’t so much, ‘What I know…’ and more exploring and uncovering ‘What they already know…’  

HA’s and suppliers are now switching on to the fact that this is the new normal, for at least until we find a vaccine, and that working with consultants like DtL helps them to begin to navigate a way forward. 

How do you see work patterns developing after we get out of the current restrictions? 

I think more remote meetings are here to stay, in fact I have, personally seen a big increase in people defaulting to a Zoom, Teams call, rather than pick up the phone. Also I would like to see the slightly looser, more relaxed way people have been operating with each other continue. I think sometimes we behave professionally with each other in a way that we believe is the ‘right and proper’ way , rather than what comes more naturally.  Its been gratifying to see that people recognise we are all human, we have good days and bad days, little kids and dogs disrupt our working day and that having a bad hair day doesn’t mean you aren’t a professional who knows their stuff! 

Whilst I think remote meetings and generally less travel could well be a long term outcome, it could be that we also see countering this a desire for more meaningful face to face time. We probably have all experienced the endless meeting that never seems to deal with anything substantive, I think if we do congregate it will be to be focussed and productive.