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With a little help from my friends

It’s been a challenging couple of years hasn’t it? Having recently spent a week self-isolating at home (luckily just precautionary, we managed to escape the dreaded covid) I’ve been thinking again about my experiences.

We’re extremely lucky because lockdown and self-isolation for us meant relocating our business home, not actually closing it. But it’s been very unsettling and one of the biggest things for me is uncertainty – am I okay to go work at our office or should I be staying home? We had that in a small way a few weeks ago when a few family members came down with covid. With no restrictions currently in place we could have continued working at the office, but it just didn’t feel right – so home we went.

The pandemic has without a doubt changed how I work. Before I would have been out meeting people regularly – networking events, client meetings, down the pub (yes it counts) – I have been doing most things online. Zoom has been an absolute revelation and I will continue to use it moving forward, even though I am beginning to reintroduce in-person meetings as well. And I’m also looking for networking opportunities to get out and about again.

Without my previous level of human interaction, where have I got the support that I need as a small business owner? For me, the absolute essential is having a group of friends who also run businesses that I can call on for help. Whether it’s to get a pep talk when something hasn’t gone as planned, or ask how they would approach something, it’s really helped me a lot knowing that I can call on them. And also to offer the same level of support back and feel like I’m helping in my own small way. They have been my safety net so that I didn’t feel too lonely, even when working from the corner of the spare room for weeks on end.

Things have started to get a lot more back to business as usual, haven’t they? This morning a client emailed to ask me to take down the covid notice from their website because they don’t need it any more. It still feels like we’re transitioning from covid rules back to “normal” (whatever that is) – I’m still wearing a mask when I do the weekly shop but I’ve also been attending some networking events (somewhat nervously). For me, everything takes a lot more thinking through and planning than it used to. The effects of the last couple of years are going to stay with us for a while yet, aren’t they? I think the important thing is to continue to look out for each other and be understanding if some things are still a bit harder than they used to be.

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