Jamie Willsdon reflects on 2020 and maybe what we can learn from a year like no other…

This time last year I wrote to my team about how positive and upbeat I was feeling for 2020. As I read it back it’s incredible just how little I knew; and exactly what was about to hit us… I find it incredible how much this virus has changed the way we live and operate.

Since returning from my family holiday in Northern Italy in February this year (apparently an epicentre), it seems that everything we have discussed or had to react to is the effects of words like Covid-19, Corona, Pandemic & Lockdown; it certainly had an impact on life like nothing witnessed before. So, as we head into 2021, with what seems positive vaccine’s approved, we note a glittering light at the end of a tunnel with a world that might be somewhere close to what was “normality” …

This pandemic has forced us all into new ways of behaving, some very positive, some not so… Crossing the road to avoid people has been very difficult for me, I’m a “...Good morning…” type of person; so, looking at people like they’re ‘spreaders’ is just awful, however, knowing that I am being courteous at the same time seems to make it ok, I guess!

This pandemic has forced us all into new ways of behaving
A ray of positivity

The standout positive for me is everyone’s appetite for change, it seems we are now seeking easier, calmer, balanced, more family-focused and sustainable life. Home–Office work balance is certainly a change that I see continuing to benefit many people. Maybe that 7am Central-Line Tube may never again be as horrific as we were once accustomed to.

The adaption has been key, we have to salute the human race, our leaders, our health experts, the scientists and especially the front-line workers who have given us that hope we all needed to see us through this time. If only the ‘Thursday night clapping’ was something that could continue, it was such a warm and united feeling seeing all my neighbours joining together to support one another. This definitely helped me, along with my family, come to terms with the unnerving situation seeing that we were all in this together supporting the same cause.

Being an employer has been a real challenge this year. Future Group have had to make redundancies, upgrade our IT systems, arrange for staff from all departments to work remotely; support parents of young children, initiate safe working systems for our field staff and engineering teams, whilst providing support for those struggling, let alone deal with the impact on morale and sprit. So, how can we turn this paragraph in our lives to make a positive change to the quality of life of all of those who work within our companies?

We've Got This

Communication is vital. We must continue to listen to our staff; understand the individual problems they have in their lives and forge a system that supports them as best as commercially possible. I could argue amongst all the disruption that productivity has gone up in our business. Now knowing that remote working does work well for certain roles, we will be making developments to promote this where possible.

Health and wellbeing are now high on our agenda, we started a fit & fat club with weekly weigh-ins (it was so much fun) and keeping active seems to be running through our veins more than ever. We hope to launch our 20-21 running club next year, for everyone to take 30mins out at least once a week for a group run session…

The biggest question on every business owners mind is? Will my business survive? Well, our business, like most have been battered and bruised on this Covid journey. But by taking positives from the situation, we have learnt a great deal on how the group can be leaner, more streamlined and definitely more efficient than ever before. Luckily for us, our business was in quite a stable condition before the pandemic hit, I’m sure similar businesses that weren’t so privileged will be finding this period and the coming months a very difficult time. All we can do is hope the economy is kind to all and rebounds to the pre-covid state as rapidly as possible, before we lose more established household names and organisations. We must support our local business; we must get out there and spend what we can afford, to assist getting our economy pumping again.

Of course, all service companies like ours rely on the health of their clients’ businesses and the stock they are managing, so the answer isn’t just in our hands, but if I’ve learned one thing from this experience, it’s that as we return to 2021 from lockdown there will be as much opportunity as there is concern. Keeping positive and using the experience of 2020 may just assist to ignite your business in a more efficient and positive way.

I know the minute we emerge from the lockdown our Country will be riding on happy, feel good and positive vibes. 2021 will mark the 20th year of me owning businesses and I’m buzzing that this will be one of the greatest years for business with everyone will be fighting for the cause.

Merry Christmas everyone, and here’s to a peaceful, yet successful 2021