By Nick Sellars, Group Managing Director
Just when you thought we had exhausted every conversation about Covid and were all adapting to life with one hand tied behind our backs, then along comes a second surge and lockdown number two.
As I write, we are a gnats’ toenail from coming out of lockdown and for us in Chelmsford, London and surrounding areas that means tier 2 restrictions, but a worse tier 2 than before. Most of our Northern contingent will awake under tier 3 which is a kind of freedom, with any form of enjoyment denied to you.
I will not talk about the obvious restrictions on personal and family life, which, whilst a real pain, is hopefully protecting the vulnerable until a vaccine is rolled out. Personally, I cannot see any other escape because we fall short miserably at keeping it down any other way. But we are mercifully close to that now so there is light for everyone at the end of the tunnel.
Seeing how much businesses suffered during the first lockdown, there was much trepidation about the second wave. When I say suffer, I do not mean 4Syte per se because we fared well and wrote a lot of new business, as well as tried our hardest to keep the cash flowing and the costs down for our clients. I was amazed to see their resilience which says a lot about our SME entrepreneurs and the contribution they make to the country. Generally, they fared well in the circumstances and only those unfortunate souls engaged in or exposed to certain hospitality or retail sectors really continue to suffer now. Hopefully, a combination of Government assistance and a bounce back to good fortune post vaccine will help those businesses come out the other side.
I am a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Entrepreneurs. Their motto is “Dare, Create, Succeed”. How true are those words to an entrepreneur to establish business in the first place, and they are equally apt qualities steering through a pandemic.
Lockdown one, we all worked from home. Lockdown two, 90% of our staff really wanted to continue to work from the office. They enjoyed the camaraderie and creativity and fed off each other to generate a very positive ‘can-do’ attitude which really gave a boost to our business. We did not want to cut that off once again. Our clients seemed to carry on in the same vein, brushing aside the negativity and refusing to give up on their recovery. So, for business I think we have adapted to a changing world and our coping mechanisms are in place.
I believe we will go on coping and the hope is that we are only a few weeks from a change for the better and our hardest hit industries will be helped in the meantime.
The economists all talk of hard times ahead, but I would expect a big positive reaction as the pent-up demand and cash saved in the interim will lead to a spending spree on everything denied to us over the past year. If there is one thing many of us have learnt over the past few months, despite all the negativity that is spouted off, it is togetherness, working together with our colleagues, clients and partners for a better outcome for as many of us as is possible.
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