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Survival of the Fittest

Epidemic, pandemic, biblical proportions, end of days, isolation, incubation, insulation, conspiracy theories, panic, stock piling, financial concerns, unemployment, folding businesses, death, the list goes on and on.

It is energy-draining. I think even a saint would struggle to remain positive in such a time as this. It brings to mind the famous Bill Murray quote from the 1986 Ghostbusters film when he talks about “mass hysteria” whilst in the Mayor’s office.

Never, in my lifetime, have I witnessed or experienced anything like this on such a global scale. I don’t recall being impacted by foot and mouth disease; Ebola and bird flu – in my world – came and went without leaving an impression. No floods, no earthquakes, no tsunamis – not even a broken bone. I am fit and healthy. Was I in a bubble? Who knows? Then along comes COVID19. People of all ages are losing their lives, companies are going into administration; jobs are being lost. All these things and more resulting in a major transformation to our social and family lives.

The government have announced how our national workforce will be financially supported. My husband is a self-employed furniture maker and was obliged to stop working. Before the announcement, I had a hard job to stop his concerns about our financial future. I couldn’t even reassure him because the reality was, I had no feasible action plan to alleviate his fears.

I, however, have an option to work from home and I really enjoy this. My company has taken on more staff. I have trained no end of new starters in the past few weeks. My company is surviving despite all the doom and gloom. New employees are coming to me with stories of being laid off – yet I know, I have a job and I can pay next month’s mortgage. I had an epiphany which left me amazed and very grateful.

I acknowledge the great leadership skills required to carry a company through this type of storm, to not crumble, to endure. Iain Borrowman, our CEO expressed, “As a company, we are resilient but we are only robust if all of us do what is expected of us.” He went on to say, “People may be scared but we have an opportunity to calm things down. We should ask ourselves what is going to happen when we get through this? When making our calls, be positive and demonstrate this positivity through our voices.”

We have since created a private company Facebook page to keep all our homeworking staff engaged and in the loop. Uplifting memes, food challenges as well as the normal company updates on our achievements are posted. We also have team social media groups which has proved to be exceptionally valuable for our workers who live alone and are in isolation from their loved ones.

Consider the fact that 80 years ago, we were asked to join a war and fight for our country. Now, we are just being asked to stay at home to fight this illness and some people genuinely cannot cope. Let’s get things into perspective. These are trying times but we will get through them if we do what is required to stop the spread of this killer virus. It’s difficult but we need to understand that this period of darkness is temporary.

Community spirit is more prevalent. We are seeing an increase of human interactions, empathy and sympathy; the appreciation of our key workers. At home, we are choosing to cook healthier foods from scratch and people are seeking different approaches to being active or even learn a new skill.

There is that light at the end of the tunnel. We need to be ready for when normality returns and apply the lessons learnt. So, until then - stay home, stay safe and stay positive.

Samantha Pullen, Training Manager

IRSMarketing Ltd

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