Looking Beyond Lockdown

Edinburgh skyline at dusk, looking over from Musselburgh

It’s the end of our first week in lockdown, so I thought I’d share my reflections on how I, and my business, are being affected.

The most significant impact for me of the Covid-19 outbreak hit 3 weeks ago with the cancellation of the ITCILO training I was due to be delivering in Kiev this week, the culmination of a steady emptying of my diary. Gulp!

As a result, I spent last week and the week before preparing for the lock down that, by that stage, looked inevitable. I started to improve my video-conferencing skills and, thanks to training from partner organisations such as CEDR, In Place of Strife and WEA, I’ve learnt about features and approaches I should have been using for years. 

A large element of this process was reviewing which Strathesk Resolutions services could be delivered online. The answer, I’m pleased to say, is pretty much all of them. We can mediate workplace and employment disputes, facilitate negotiations and deliver our core Negotiations Skills, Collective Bargaining and Management-Staff Partnership training remotely. In other words, most services can continue as soon as people need them.

An online future?

It’s been an interesting time. Apart from anything, and probably in common with many, many people, I’ve never spent so much time in video conferences! The flow of communication is different than you can get face to face, but when that’s impossible, the technology is certainly now at a level that allows genuine, direct interaction.

Self-preservation has become an important element, so I’ve been applying more discipline to getting out and active (within the guidelines!). As importantly, I’ve focused on my mental health through mindfulness practices and eating sensibly.  I’ve also reconnected with people I’ve not been in touch with for too long, as have several of them with me, and there’s been a growing feeling of community and mutual support.

Where now?

The last couple of weeks have also presented opportunities. On business development, I’ve returned to networking, albeit online. This has allowed me to meet people I might never otherwise have met. That’s so far been primarily through #LnDCowork, and a couple of more ad hoc online gatherings, but hopefully there will be more through next week’s East Lothian Business Community and the following week’s Edinburgh Connections online networking sessions! 

Importantly, I’ve also been able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I now have 2 training courses in the diary to deliver towards the tail end of the year, there’s a general pulling together of the local community and I am now genuinely confident that I, and Strathesk Resolutions, can get through all of this.

Governing Change at Work

There has been a lot of discussion about corporate governance in recent years, even more about the place of the workforce within that.  With that in mind, an article in City A.M. caught my eye this week. What I found particularly interesting in it is Andy Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England, widening […]

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Taking Mediation to the Next Level

About a year ago, Founding Director of Strathesk Resolutions, Malcolm Currie, undertook to take his mediation to the next level. Sounds good! But what on Earth does it mean? Read on to find his explanation… “Well, the starting point for me was to go through the CEDR Mediation Skills Training course. That’s not to say […]

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Taking a Long Look at Yourself…

One of the disciplines that underpins mediation is the benefit that comes from reflecting on how a recent process has run. But it’s a habit that can have much wider benefits. How well prepared was I? What went well, that I might want to repeat? Is there anything that I can learn and improve for […]

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Reflections from Tbilisi

I spent the second week of April in Tbilisi, Georgia, delivering training on Conciliation of Collective Labour Disputes*.  As with all training courses, and journeys to other countries, I learnt a huge amount from the trip, so I thought I’d reflect on the key points through this blog-post. Vocabulary I’ve had numerous conversations in recent […]

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To mediate, or not to mediate, that is the question

Mediation has been around for a long time, and has been used very successfully in many, many situations. Despite that, many employers have been slow to adopt mediation as an approach, often reluctant to put it in place early enough to prevent some situations becoming intractable.  Indeed, it seems to be seen as an option […]

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Bullying at work shouldn’t be hidden by ‘playground’ stigma

This is Anti-Bullying Week 2018 (#ABW2018), with a series of events, articles and publications aimed at making the problem of bullying something about which we all know more and are better equipped to stop. As is inevitable, many websites and much of the Anti-Bullying Week 2018 material focuses on bullying amongst children, particularly in schools.  […]

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Putting Mental Health in its Proper Workplace…

Last Wednesday was World Mental Health Day 2018.  The day aims to raise awareness of mental health and the issues around it, particularly those that arise from mental ILL-health. I even put out a post on LinkedIn to publicise it, asking followers of my posts “are you going to do anything to mark it?”. At […]

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A record year for strikes

The Office of National Statistics has recently published its latest figures around industrial disputes, one of the highlights being the record low number of days lost to strikes, with a similar low for other forms of industrial action.  So, does this trumpet the success of the Trade Union Act 2016?  In short, no. To those […]

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Business lessons from the ridge

This time last week I had just completed a traverse of the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye.  Having returned to ‘normality’ and processed some of the reactions I had during the 32 hours we were on the mountains, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how this relates to my work. This […]

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