Along with the rest of the world, our teams has been directly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and as a result, team members have either been working from home, or been furloughed in line with the government scheme.

Here, we share the personal accounts of two of our team members about how they have coped during lockdown.

Mark (Huey) Eaves, Trainer

“Furloughed” – I don’t know about you, but I had to go and look it up on Google and find out what it actually meant and how it would affect me and my future, and the future of the guys I work with. Having looked up what Furlough was and watched the government’s daily briefings, I had a better, but still unclear, idea of what the future held.

Having only been out of work for a total of 7 days in the past, I am well out of my comfort zone being furloughed, it has meant me making changes and adapting to my new daily routine and trying new things, this has meant me changing my thinking.

I do my usual morning routine, get up around 7-7.30am, shower (I have decided I would grow a beard, no not like Gandalf’s, as I have always worked in industries where I have never had the opportunity to grow one. It’s also saves on the cost of shaving gel and razors.) I then have some breakfast and a brew.

As I now have to fill my own days with things to keep me occupied and focused but also have time for myself and look after my own wellbeing. I have been able to catch up on some reading and study for my work and sort and tidy my office and make full use of it. I am able to go out for a walk each day in the sun or rain, which gives me the opportunity to get some fresh air, put all the thoughts in my head in some kind of order and dump any negative stuff.

We have all discovered new ways of communicating and interacting with family and people we work with. This is a very good thing, especially when we can’t actually physically meet up and talk face to face. It has given me the chance to use technology that I have never tried before, some with more success than others. Being able to stay in contact with the guys from work on Whatsapp every morning is a really nice thing to start the day with, especially seeing the pictures of what the guys are up to, and what the weather’s like in the South.

With having so much time on my hands I decided to join the other 750,000 people and offer my time to the government’s volunteer scheme. This made me feel like I wasn’t just sitting on the side lines and watching this happen and not contributing something to society and helping where I could (having always worked in industries were the focus was helping people I felt I needed to do something.)

I was given the opportunity to help out the NHS Staff at Saint Bart’s Trust with Hot Fire Training. This gave me a sense of purpose and made me feel like I was making a contribution to the current situation. Whilst delivering the training I met doctors, nurses, cleaners, maintenance staff, security guards and was humbled by all the people who are working on the front line in the current situation. I have nothing but total admiration and respect for all the people involved.

This reinforced my personal thoughts that when we all work together then we can change anything and turn any situation or problem around for the better. I am now back on the furlough scheme and feel confident that we will all get through this, and things will be different in the future. But this can only be a good thing – we can and will get through this, it is all about working together and talking and sharing how we are feeling at the moment.

So how are you….? How are you really feeling?

Louise, Customer and Training Support Team Lead

“My New Working Day”

Well what can I say, I returned from annual leave on the morning after the Government made the decision to put the UK in lockdown. Being away for nearly two weeks I was not sure what I was going to find when arriving at the office on 24th March.

My first impression was that it was clear the Senior Management team had already put in to place a structure of team members to be furloughed and others who would continue to work however in their home environment.

I was advised I would be one of the team members to continue to work for Alpha. That morning in the office involved collecting work together, project work, course updates, audit work which I could work on whilst also being available to respond to our customers and how we would be supporting them through these unprecedented times.

When I had everything I needed, I said my goodbyes and wished everyone to stay safe, very surreal words as no-one at this time really knew how bad things would get.

It felt quite daunting not knowing how soon I would see some of my colleagues again, but I knew I had to remain strong to get through this.

I aimed to structure my day the same as much as I could, as if I was still getting up to go to the office – the getting up in the morning was easy as my dog ensure she woke up at the same time and therefore woke me up too.

I knew I had to have more awareness of my own mental health and how I would approach each working day and therefore setting up my ‘workstation’ in a suitable place in my home was beneficial. Only having a breakfast bar was not ideal but I remembered I had a camping table in the shed and it is working a treat as my substitute desk.

Learning to be flexible with my own needs and ensuring I had a balance of work/break time was a priority, as working from home without any physical interaction with my colleagues would mean the day would feel longer.

Being allowed only one time of daily exercise has been challenging as normally I do 3 walks a day with my dog. I know we have been incredibly lucky over the past 6 weeks in lockdown as the sun has been shining and I have the luxury of a back garden so have been able to utilise this. I am also an active person and go to the gym and do personal training so ensuring I kept up these levels of fitness was a must. We are so lucky to have such great social media platforms that for me, Instagram and Zoom have been life savers and I have been able to do online workouts varying from full bodyweight workouts, barre and yoga. I may not be lifting weights, but I am doing my best to maintain my fitness levels through this surreal time.

Now in my 6th week of ‘working from home’ I am still feeling positive and it has been great to keep in touch with my team by having regular catch ups via What’s App and Zoom. I know as a team, whether working from home or furloughed, the Alpha team will come through this time and come together to be there for each other and our customers. The Alpha team will be back together soon and will be working effectively and embracing a new ‘work life’ and look to the future for new opportunities.