‘Lock down’ – week 1.

Slightly misleading title here, we have been working remotely since Thursday 12th. I made the decision that everyone could (and should work from home) as soon as this began to really accelerate. When I set up OX Seven I never envisaged that the flexible setup would benefit us most when in a global pandemic (I just thought it would be better for late starts on a Monday and early finishes on a Friday).

I have always preferred office-based work. As much as having remote working is a great option, I just find I am a lot more productive in an office full of people. So having to work from home, amongst my family, is tough. Every candidate and client I have spoken to so far has been thoroughly understanding of the frequent interruptions from the children asking for juice, McDonalds or where the charger is.

In terms of the family stack, I have: 1 fiance and 2.5 children. Maddison (the 0.5 – my stepdaughter) 8, Sienna 2.5 and Arthur 1 make up the tribe. We have been trying our best to do academic stuff with Maddison, but it’s tough going, so we have tried to do as many ‘practical’ teachings with her as well (she is doing our VAT return next quarter). I think the novelty of this is wearing off for them very quickly. Luckily we have a garden which is big enough for a trampoline and space for them to run about, which is great. I really do feel for the people who live in flats or do not have access to a private garden to get some lockdown free fresh air.

I know everyone keeps saying it, but we really are in unprecedented times. It’s literally mental how quickly things have changed. Just over two weeks ago we were in disbelief that Arsenal v City was called off as a precaution. Now we are on lockdown (which people are not properly observing in my opinion), our lives are changing on a daily basis. I hope this is a societal defining phase shift and after this all finishes (which it will), we remember and appreciate those key workers who did so much for us in our time of need. The NHS rightly gets masses of praise (and I am unequivocal with appreciation for every single person in the NHS), but for me, the supermarket workers and delivery drivers deserve massive recognition. When they took their job they did not sign up to be on the coal face of a global pandemic, but every single one I have encountered so far has been friendly, positive and helpful – thank you. It also means that huge amounts of children are going to get more quality time with their parents over the next few months – which on a personal level, I am extremely excited about.

The almost daily changes are impacting everyone in OX Seven. Every single one of us has been on a rollercoaster ride. I have had to make decisions I never thought I would have to, or want to make. I would say the 7 days from 13th until the 20th were comfortably the 7 worst days of my life. I struggled to eat, think or even function at times (I lost about 7 lbs – every cloud…) Fortunately, the government COVID-19 employee retention scheme stands us to support us greatly – although how the finer print looks, we’re not sure yet. We will come out of this without an office (although we’re all pretty used to working remotely and still communicating), but hopefully all together. We are still ‘business as usual’ for the foreseeable future, although some team members will be furloughed until this shitstorm floats away.

I suffer from health anxiety, so the constant and hard reminders everywhere really do not help me – so I have deleted twitter and only use FB very sparingly – which has helped me a lot. The most important updates come through BBC news, so I stick to that to keep updated. I find I become fixated on certain words that are use in the news and media. Last week it was ‘underlying’ (which sounds sinister in itself), this week it has been ‘tickly throat’ – off the back of reading a story of a poor chap who had a tickly throat and died a few days later. I am managing to rationalize everything more and more as each day goes by and I feel as though keeping the family in the house and minimizing the number of times we leave (only to go to Tesco really) reassures me I am keeping them safe, but also the vulnerable around us.

I’m going to try and write a blog entry every single day, just so you can share the experience with me (and I can read it back after this is all over).

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Will Grashoff

Managing Director

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