LOCKDOWN – Nightmare or Wake-up Call?


An insight into how the lockdown has impacted the team at Ciret

Since March Covid-19 has affected us all on many different levels, putting a mental and physical strain on the majority of people across the globe. Nearly four months ago, on March 23rd, the government announced the first lockdown restrictions for the country, asking citizens to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travelling.

Although lockdown restrictions have gradually been lifted across the UK, the feeling of unease, worry and uncertainty is still rooted deeply within many of us.

I wanted to find out how my co-workers here at Ciret have managed to deal with the crisis and how Covid-19 has affected them, on both a personal, as well as professional work level. A short questionnaire provided me with some interesting insights into the challenges and struggles that some of my colleagues have had to face over the past few months. However, this pandemic has also taught us much and encouraged us to revaluate our lives.

How has Covid-19 affected your personal life and your family?

Not being able to see family as usual, has been one of the biggest changes in people’s lives, especially with family members living abroad or further away within the country. The restrictions on going out and social interaction with family, friends and work colleagues has also affected many, particularly when it comes to mental health.

Lockdown has been especially difficult for some that have had to or still are looking after family members with health problems or live with a partner that is shielding. One of our colleagues did an amazing job of looking after and cooking daily meals for his mum who suffers from dementia.

Operations Director Glen: “For me personally, my wife has not been able to work at all during the lockdown, so it has been quite strange to see both sides of the impact of Covid-19. Whilst I have been at work every day, my wife has been at home, so I have seen the way it can affect peoples’ mental health when you do not know when you can return to work as well as the impact of social media/fake news.”

How has Covid-19 affected your work life and workplace?

People that were furloughed for a few weeks did find it difficult to cope with the mental challenges as well as the job/money worries and are glad to be back at work. Social distancing measures and the wearing of PPE where necessary, have started to become very normal in the workplace. Staff members currently working from home have also adapted to a new way of working and particularly enjoy not having to spend so much time travelling to and from work.

Warehouse Manager Rachel: “I don’t work from home at all. Things are different to allow for social distancing measures and we’ve all been working together to cover different parts of the business while people have been furloughed.”

Office Manager Nicki: “At the beginning of the lockdown, there were so few of us at work that we all had to learn new skills and help out where we were needed.”

What was the best thing about lockdown?

The answers to this question ranged from; spending more quality time with immediate family, the lack of traffic on the roads and saving more money every month, to, not having to see the in-laws and being able to have a sneaky breakfast wine :D The majority of my co-workers have spent more time going out for walks, making the most of their gardens and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet that the pandemic brought with it.

Sales Agent Simon: “Walking the dog, not having to rush about all the time and not constantly dropping off and collecting the kids. Cycling on empty roads, reading more books, sunbathing and getting a tan without having to go on holiday. I also got a lot of jobs done around the house that should have been done years ago. Best thing - the kids almost stopped tapping me up for money.”

Purchasing & Supply Chain Co-Ordinator Natalie: “The best thing for me about lockdown was being able to spend more time with my husband and two boys and sitting in the garden speaking with the next-door neighbours.”

What was the worst thing for you during lockdown?

Lockdown has been mentally challenging and brought concerns about health and money with it. Another issue for several people was being bored as going out was so restricted.

Warehouse Picker Bill: “Not being able to see family has been difficult and I didn’t enjoy the boredom of not having to do much.”

Sales Agent Simon: “Kids being off school and not getting out of their beds. It was hard not to see my parents, only going for a walk once a day and not even being able to buy a coffee. Oh and no sport to watch.”

Has the virus taught you something and what will you do differently in the future?

The virus has taught people to be more patient, care about others and that it’s important to slow down and enjoy life. It’s made us appreciate family, friends and the things that we have but often take for granted.

Operations Director Glen: “Yes, it has and that is that we have become a world where everything is fast paced, and we don’t appreciate what is around us. The pandemic has seen me create time to speak to my family more and to have more time to do things like walking and enjoying nature. I have learnt to slow down at weekends and to enjoy life!”

Digital & Marketing Assistant Susanne: “The virus has reminded me of how quickly life can change and that it’s important to make the most of every day. I’m used to skyping with my family as they all live in Austria, but I’ve definitely taken this time to have some longer conversations with friends and family. Being able to go out for walks around our village has reminded me how much I love walking and nature. My daily walk is something that I won’t give up any time soon.”

What are you looking forward to when things get a bit more “normal” again?

The top answers to this question were meeting up with family and friends, going out to the pub and restaurants and very importantly a visit to the hairdresser.

Sales Agent Joe: “I’m looking forward to my son coming home or me being able to go and see him in Canada, and of course, being a Paddy - a pint of Guinness and a chat with friends.”

Digital & Marketing Assistant Susanne: “I’m looking forward to the gym opening again, I missed the cinema too as we love going to the movies. I also can’t wait to visit my family in Austria. We’re thinking of a road trip as we’re not too sure about flying yet.”

Warehouse Picker Darren: “I can’t wait to go on holiday and to the pub again.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

Office Manager Nicki:  “We need to learn from this difficult time, and should all take the opportunity to be kinder.”

Quality Assurance Assistant Paul: “I’m very happy to be back at work ????”

Warehouse Manager Rachel: “I feel very proud of the team of people I work with, as everyone has just soldiered on through a tough and trying time. There has been a real sense of good team spirit and I think it has brought people closer together.”

Sales Agent Joe:“Don’t take life for granted, you will spend long enough looking up at the lid.”

Operations Director Glen:“I would just like to thank everyone who works for Ciret in the UK, for the understanding of the staff we had to furlough, and for the fortitude of all those who have worked through the pandemic. We, as a business, have seen really challenging times but the team we have here in the UK is amazing. Thank you for your help, support, patience and the trust you put in Phil and I to see the company through these last three months. Without the team, both internally and externally, we would not have been able to do what we have so thank you to everyone. Let’s hope the future is a bright and successful one that we can all enjoy. Finally, on behalf of the company, we wish you, and your families, all the very best of health and keep remaining safe.”

Reading my colleagues’ answers on how they dealt with Covid-19 and lockdown has shown me how similar our experience has been. We all struggled with the same things, taking its toll on our mental health and exposing us to issues that we’ve never had to think or worry about before. What the pandemic has really shown me is that we’re all capable of pulling together, that we need to look out for and support the weakest ones around us and how much we can achieve when we work as a team. The virus has brought people together and I truly hope that we will all continue to be a bit kinder to each other and our planet in the future.

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