Nervous is probably the word that best sums up my feelings when it was announced that we were officially in lockdown and we were to retire to the safety of our homes until further notice. Agile working is not a new concept at Aon and I think most will agree that it’s one of the many benefits that comes with working at Aon…but the prospect of being completely house bound from a working perspective, left me feeling panicked.
Given the choice, I’ve always gone into the office each day unless circumstances dictate otherwise. I thrive off being around people and my work colleagues are no exception. I love the camaraderie, the laughs, our team lunches on a Friday, the weekly cake bakes, not to mention the fact that there is always someone to hand if you have a quick question or need some support with a piece of work. That’s not to say that you don’t have that support when you’re working from home, but would it be different and how? It’s fair to say that I was finding the prospect of being isolated from the team somewhat daunting.
However, my worries were completely unfounded. In fact, what I’ve experienced in lockdown has been quite the opposite. Our team has never felt more connected. Aon have gone over and beyond to ensure that nobody feels isolated either professionally or personally. Virtual coffee catch ups, lunchtime quizzes, HITT sessions, Big Brother challenges have all contributed to ensuring that the channels of communication remain open and more so than ever in these challenging times.
Whilst I wouldn’t want to downplay the severity of the pandemic and the devastating effects it has had, the lockdown has facilitated some developmental opportunities for me both within and outside of work. I’ve had a little more time to get involved in some interesting projects across the team. Not only is this enabling me to upskill, but it’s given me the chance to work more collaboratively with colleagues across other locations. I’ve had the opportunity to assist my colleagues across other business units, opening my eyes up to different working practices. The quizzes and workouts have encouraged a greater level of communication on a personal level across the wider teams. Colleagues are taking the time to engage in more conversation, checking in on each other, just generally talking more and getting to know each other a little better in these challenging times.
And I’ve used this time with the support of Aon, to realise the importance of investing in myself both physically and mentally. I’ve used the time before I get onto my laptop in the morning, to do some yoga and my lunchbreaks to get outside in the fresh air and walk. It’s not that I didn’t have the opportunity to do this before, but as the world around me has slowed down, I’ve realised the value in taking some time for myself. I’m also very aware of how hugely fortunate I’ve been in working for an employer who has worked so tirelessly to safeguard its employees. I appreciate that this isn’t true for everyone, many of whom have had to deal with devastating and highly stressful circumstances at the hands of the pandemic. So, I count myself incredibly lucky that whilst we are all still working towards a new normal, I can be grateful for the positives that have come from these difficult and challenging times.