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.