Anita Pace – Managing Director 

I’m not sure what we’re calling this period – ‘semi-lockdown’?  Whatever it is, I’m not a fan.  Feels a bit ‘half in, half out’ which is causing all sorts of confusion and problems.  A period of transition was inevitable but why the communication has been so poor is bewildering (a blog for another day!).

I re-read my ‘going into lockdown’ blog and have reflected on how I felt then compared with how I feel now as restrictions are starting to be relaxed.

I can’t believe it’s been three months – it feels like it has passed so quickly.  And yet, those early lockdown days seem like a distant memory now.  Is that because there has been very little distinction between the days?  Another COVID contradiction?

I’ve found some days tough.  At Pace, one of our values is ‘energetic’ and being away from each other has reinforced how important working as a team is.  We get energy from each other.  We are a creative business and for great ideas, we need spontaneity and to bounce off each other.  Zoom / Teams doesn’t cut it – it’s tough to be creative when behind a screen.

Our culture is also critical to our success.  I like the buzz of the office – I’ve never been someone who would choose to work from home.  In fact, the busier the office, the better as far as I’m concerned.  That’s me though – I understand there are many who prefer the peace and quiet of home-working (although anyone with young children has no doubt had anything but a peaceful home-working experience these last few weeks!).

It’s also been tough because it’s been bloody hard work. A team of 20 has been temporarily a team of seven. And the seven of us have been full on. I’ve been juggling many roles and it’s been intense. Hours and hours in front of a screen is draining; where normally you’d break your day up with face to face meetings and office banter, online meetings just add to the relentless screen time.

I know I’m not alone in feeling exhausted.  Other local business leaders have shared similar stories with me.  Maybe it’s because work and home life blurred to become one so there was no opportunity to switch off from, or focus, on either.  Despite exercising early every morning and walking Tilly every lunch time, I still felt totally spent by the end of the day.  I think I underestimated the emotional toll of all this – it’s certainly been a ‘Coronacoaster’ of emotions!

Having had a chat with the team, we took the decision to re-open the office on 6th July.  It felt like the right time as more lockdown restrictions were eased and we are fortunate enough to have plenty of space to work at our desks safely-distanced. We also welcomed some of the furloughed team members back.  It felt a bit weird coming into the office at first – we were all a bit hesitant and naturally cautious – but by day two, it started to feel like ‘home’ again.

We’ll see how the weeks ahead pan out (we’re all hearing the speculation about the likelihood of another lockdown in the winter months).  In the meantime, it’s good to see ‘everyone’ again.  And I’m looking forward to taking a few days off with the children – sadly not Majorca (our original plan) but still a welcome change of scenery.

And finally, a big thank you to my six team mates who have soldiered on during these crazy times and helped Pace remain open for business – I couldn’t have done it without you!