It’s been a while!
Two years to be precise. And what a whirlwind we’ve weathered.
Although the Insight-ful blog has been on a two-year hiatus, I have been busy acclimatising – as, no doubt, you have too.
Now, picking up where we left off (from those simpler times of asking how big your shoehorn is? or explaining to my wife why I love Tinder! ), I’ve been reflecting on the not-insignificant disruption we’ve overcome.
Pre-Covid, I was on top of my professional game. Self-assured, cool under pressure and more than likely, a bit cocky. My workplace was spread far and wide - at clients’ offices, in coffee shops across the country, on busy trains and, occasionally, at home.
It’s very unlikely that my children could have told you what took me far and wide, and likewise, I wasn’t always on top of their comings and goings.
Well, didn’t that all change in a heartbeat!
Marking two-years since we were ordered to stay at home, it has occurred to me that I’ve been on somewhat of a five-step professional journey.
Step 1 : Panic
Offices closed. Coffee shops shut. Train services more or less ground to a halt. Home, however, was still standing. And it was the only place we were permitted to be. That’s when panic set in. From hosting less than 25% of my working hours, it was going to play host to 100% - with wife, children, cat and all.
Step 2: Evolve from offline to online
My professional confidence had thrived on interpersonal contact. However, now my nomadic working ways had been severed, predominantly offline-me had to get online – and that confidence was about to take a huge knock.
Unfamiliar pre-presentation panic set in when my first webinar streamed live from my living room. Not only pre-panic, but panic throughout when it struck me that I had no idea of knowing if the participants were still there. Was I even still live? To top it off, my cheap lamp gradually lost power and I was plunged into unintentional low light, alone, possibly presenting to no-one at all. Lessons were learnt.
Step 3: Equip to succeed
If this was going to work, it was clear that some investment was required. First up, came a light rig, followed by a green screen, an editing suite, a professional camera and, to top it off, smarter clothes. To compensate for no longer meeting clients in person, I hosted more webinars and set up Fundraising Tube. The new toys were put to work and before long, I found my groove again.
Step 4: Adjust to the workspace
With confidence restored in carrying out my work, some attention was needed on the actual workplace. Having spent most of our working time outside of the home, it took a lot of adjustment to sharing the now kitchen-table-cum-office with the rest of the family. My daughter’s inquisitive head popped over the top of my screen on many an occasion, and the fancy new green screen illusion was broken during one presentation, when my son tore through it.
Moving house had been a future aspiration, but between the first and second lockdowns, we decided to join the exodus from London. With our new home came my first ever permanent office. Life had now vastly changed, and it felt good.
Step 5: Panic again
We need you in the offices and the coffee shops and on the trains, they say. And so we’ve come full circle. Having become skilled at working online in my new-found office, I feel the panic setting back in, at the thought of returning to my previous nomadic ways. I love being here for school runs and I’ll miss the broad acceptance that children will pop up in online meetings or crash through presentations.
However, we are an adaptable species and adapt I shall. We won’t be returning to a blueprint of pre-March 2020, more likely a new hybrid way of working lies ahead. Not just for individuals either, but across the sector itself.
There is some fascinating work I want to share with you, when ready, about the ways in which the sector has also been forced to acclimatise to the changes in fundraising and the new ways people are giving to charity. And as a new storm in Europe unfolds, this work is evolving by the day.