What is life like running a business in these very unique circumstances?
It’s nothing like you would have imagined. And if we had, no one would have believed us. If I had said “I’m going to work from home for a month and not go out” – you would have thought I was joking and being completely unrealistic. So apart from short trips out for ‘emergencies‘ or ’exercise’ I have stayed in lockdown at home.
The first weeks were frenetic. Led by Ian Thomas our CEO and Francois our superstar MD, the senior team pulled out all the stops for clients. They delivered miracles and worked to find rapidly-changing solutions as the implications of the virus became clear.
It took a while for reality to kick in and for everyone to understand what a catering ‘lockdown’ involved. It varied from reducing offers, altering and then eventual closure for most. We have definitely earned our fee during this period. It has been much harder co-ordinating, communicating, organising and delivering each site’s personal needs. Reassuring furloughed team members to ensure everyone gets a consistent and trustworthy message is a big task.
A test of true values
I have been most impressed with the comradeship I have seen at bartlett mitchell. Everyone is working together and trying to work out what to do for the best. Clients have also been supportive and caring towards their teams. This is a testament to the strength of the partnerships we have formed with our clients and consultants.
I believe that clients will remember how organisations have behaved towards their teams and clients during the CVD crisis. This will be the true test of values. The loyalty of customers and teams alike will dictate survival.
Keep calm and carry on
There is much to worry about, and I’m sure be unhappy about. But the British ‘stiff upper lip’ spirit – carry on as best you can, has shone through. There is blame and claim on the ‘shoulds’ and ‘woulds’, but in the main people have been positive, helpful, calm and caring . It’s a nice national strength to have in a difficult time as a country.
Lessons learnt whilst in lockdown
- Even when I am at home all day I still have a growing list! (Also learnt that my partner Douglas doesn’t understand the point of lists, so he ignores them!)
- It’s better to focus on one or two things and complete them. It’s easy to get distracted.
- Communicate. Stay in touch and make sure your team see you. Be visible and be there for them to give comfort and reassurance.
- Small things in life give great enjoyment, like finding something in the supermarket. Who would have thought we could get so excited over a bag of flour and yeast or that exact loaf we like.
- I can hear the birds sing in my garden much more now.
- There are some truly amazing people in the world. I hope when this is over we remember and appreciate them, from the NHS to the bin men.
- I am in awe of our team, especially those that continue to work. Such commitment, common-sense and care.
- Community is still there – we lost it temporarily while we were being busy.
- The #bmFamily💜💚 team are mad for baking. Our internal comms are full of pictures of baking. Even at home they live the #foodies values.
- A sense of humour is needed in most situations. The team have shared the funniest photos, quotes and all sorts.
- I really love our team – they inspire me every day.
- I remember how to cook!