As the lockdown continues and working from home all the time starts to become relatively ‘normal’ (for a given value of normal), work continues apace. If anything, I’ve been even busier than usual since the crisis started, which I guess reflects the relevant work we are undertaking to understand the impacts of this crisis on health and care. I’ve also been self-isolating with symptoms for the past few weeks, so this week was my first venture outside of my tiny East London flat for what seems like an age.
The week started off busily, with me preparing the monthly management accounts reporting to keep our Trustees and Management Team appraised of the charity’s performance. Given the current situation, a lot of charities are struggling, but we are in the lucky position of not being reliant on donations to keep the lights on. Still, there is, of course, intense scrutiny on costs given the current situation, so this is a key focus of mine. In working up the management accounts and adding some additional reporting in, I also got to use the new Excel “XLOOKUP” function, which probably sounds like gibberish to many, but is genuinely exciting to a spreadsheet geek like me. So long INDEX(MATCH)!
I also helped out the MarComms team with some of the final testing of our new website; I’m proud to be one of the first to launch new content on it with this blog! My colleagues Sue and CJ have done a great job and hopefully, you agree that the new site looks fantastic.
I was finally allowed out for a run this morning for the first time in weeks! I like to run early to avoid the crowds and being out whilst the sun was coming up – it was peaceful everywhere and a very welcome tonic. I usually go to the gym and lift weights too, and I’ve been keeping up with some home workouts, but it was nice to get some fresh (cleaner than usual given the drop in traffic) air.
I continued the theme of reporting, taking a look at all of our risks and updating the Risk Register following our recent board meeting: of course, like everyone else’s, our risk profile has gone up. However, I feel like we are responding well to remote working and given our focus we are seeing opportunities to help build understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting in several areas. On this theme I have been supporting our Engine Room in developing bids and reviewing contracts relating to ongoing and new opportunities, particularly in the health and care data space for some interesting new work – watch this space.
Biking this morning, followed by finalising reporting particularly around our reserves and cashflow, which is especially important to monitor at the moment (although of course it’s always a key part of my job no matter economic and environmental conditions). Plenty of calls, ad hoc catch-ups and bits and pieces today. Despite remote working we seem to be doing remarkably well at staying connected, although I do miss seeing everyone in the office on a daily basis.
Another early morning run to the Olympic Park, I attended a webinar from our investment managers looking at the markets and their projections on outlook for any recovery. Very interesting, although a wide range of scenarios and as ever with the world economy much apparently depends on Trump’s decisions around the US lockdown.
Plan for the rest of today is to construct some models to support bids we are putting in for COVID-19 related work, and work on some internal scenario planning before signing off and video chatting with a friend in the US this evening.
What did I learn? What does it mean?
From a personal point of view, I learnt how important my exercise routine is in helping to minimise my stress levels. I block out 12-1pm every day to exercise, but I missed it Monday due to being too busy, and I really noticed the difference mentally. So I’ve let everyone know that time is sacred. It’s important for us all to look after our mental and physical health, understand each other’s needs and be flexible. We’re lucky at FCC that we have a great, supportive team.
I’ve been impressed with how everyone is adapting and pulling together, and we are working at speed, adapting and taking new opportunities where they come up. So far, despite the challenges, the current ‘normal’ seems to be working.