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A year ago this week we left the office on Monday 14th March, not knowing it would be over a year before we returned. Our Ice founders were astute to recognise and understand what was heading our way and closed the office doors a week earlier than the nationwide shut down.
Looking back on that time, there was fear and uncertainty as we came to terms with the threat of the pandemic and the impact to our working and private lives. Being unable to see and hug family was distressing, yet the distance between our working family grew more and more apparent as we lost those kitchen conversations, where we dissected our weekends and rejoiced and commiserated each other’s news. We started to realise the value of peer support, being able to share lunchtimes and coffee breaks, and generally be there for each other.
Yet, in the darkest of times, the Ice family were led by a strong senior team who steered us, protected us, talked to us and cared for us – and that was keenly felt and much appreciated. The gains outweigh the loss in that we quickly adapted to a new form of working; we learned to use Teams and Zoom and laughed at each other’s kids running into the room and the ‘you’re on mute!’ shouts.
We were, and are, as busy as ever, and productivity went through the roof as we collectively formed a strong bond remotely and retained the Ice work ethic to make better happen. Everyone is available, yet not available; learning to navigate Teams alerts we have respected peoples time when they are busy, in a call or away. In the office environment, there was no way to signal that now isn’t a good time, if you were visible you were available and how many of us can relate to that!
That day a year ago was a novelty in some respects – we’d be back in two weeks maximum. Take the opportunity to adapt to a new way of working, but we now know now that wasn’t to be. Yet we are, and I am, resilient – a point I could not have made a year ago. We got on with it, we worked hard and we pulled together.
My hope for the future is the day when we can once again sit in the ‘chill’ kitchen in the office and share a take-away lunch. When we can laugh and talk and celebrate that we made it through and came out the other side, different in a good way.