Experiencing lockdown at Moore UK

Tracie Whitley, a member of the Business Outsourcing team at Moore’s Corby office, shares her experience of working at Moore during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

Tracie Whitley, Moore Accountants, Corby.
 

Early March 2020
With Brexit fast becoming a topic that WASN’T on everyone’s lips, a new conversation was just becoming the new office debate.... COVID-19.


Initially it was ‘what’s all the drama’ it’s just like flu, hardly  anyone had been affected at this time, so why were the   partners and management team having meetings about it?

The news rumbled on about this illness and the reality of its severity started to grow.  On 17th March, a week before the official UK lockdown was announced, the partners  at Moore East Midlands sent an email to all staff telling us that we were now being split into two teams and would work alternate weeks in the office to reduce the number of people we came into contact with.

The news was gaining momentum and we were pleased that our partners were listening. It wasn’t until the 23rd  March that I realised how much they had listened.

23rd March 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that lockdown has been put in place to enable us to fight this disease and protect our NHS! Within an hour of that announcement, we receive a second announcement, this time from one of our Managing Partners telling us to STAY AT HOME, STAY SAFE!

Our partners and management team quickly made sure that we had everything we needed to work from home. We had already been provided with laptops, and by the following morning, phone diversions were in place! A WhatsApp group was set up so those that wanted to could have access to colleagues, and everyone was given access to Zoom and Microsoft Teams so we could meet clients virtually and safely. And so it began lockdown 2020!

Very quickly ‘specialist support teams’ were created to help clients deal with all the new processes and regulations being introduced. Regular COVID-19 update emails were sent to clients to keep them updated on the various support measures being announced by the government. GENIUS!

Our clients needed us more than ever to help them get through this awful situation, and I’m proud to say that Moore carried on providing the same great service we always have, just in a different way.

April / May 2020
Furloughing a number of staff was a route that Moore took fairly early on.  I was so scared at that prospect, it wasn’t so much the drop in money, but the thought of losing the most human contact that I had. I need not have worried as Moore furloughed on a voluntary basis and not on a ‘you must go’ basis.  Happily enough of my colleagues elected to take furlough, for which I am so grateful and I was able to keep working throughout!

Lockdown whilst living alone carries its advantages but also its disadvantages. The news becomes your educator, along with social media, then there’s the conflicting political approaches, teamed up with the daily updates, telling of the fatalities. So all of a sudden, for me, fear sets in.  I’m of the age bracket that might be affected badly, and there were many horror stories about people my age with no underlying health conditions being hospitalized.

On top of that, there’s the missing your family so badly - knowing there would be no hugs for a number of months, no chats over a cup of coffee, in fact the only thing that we could look forward to was the endless repeats that became dragged up by the various TV channels.

So how did I get through lockdown without a complete meltdown (there were a few partial meltdowns, I’ll admit)..... MOORE, the company I work for, my job, my lockdown family!

I’m already blessed to have a great line manager (anyone that knows me, will tell you that I’m no kiss ass), but Lorna is the kindest, most hardworking young woman that I have ever worked with, (and trust me I’ve moved around a bit). A  lockdown loner like myself, Lorna is never without a smile or time for a catch up, even though she always has at least twenty five people needing things from her!

We have always had a Business Support WhatsApp group, that became very handy and meant we could keep up to date with each other and even got to share pics of little Freddie, Amy’s substitute work colleague, and Willow, one of Karen’s many distractions from VAT!

The minute that Teams was in place, I had a ‘sunny’ teams call from our HR Director, Natalie, checking in on me and offering a virtual hug!

My Managing Partner, Nick, as busy as he always is, was always quick to pass on praise if he deemed appropriate and I had a few lovely chats with another of our Partners, April.
Not to mention my day to day colleagues, I even got to be included virtually in an engagement and a house move!

June 2020
As lockdown eases, and more and more businesses re-open, along with it comes the next worry for me, ‘I’m not ready to go back to working at the office’. I put in a call to HR Director, Natalie.

I need not have worried as the answer to my fears was “don’t worry, we have plans in place!” Of course they had! That’s what they do!

So as I read articles about disgruntled employees being pressured into returning to work before they feel ready to do so, my employers, are creating risk assessments, putting in place cleaning stations, and sending emails telling staff that rather than rushing back to the office just because we can, we should, where possible, stay home and stay safe!

Moore will of course eventually return to working at the office, and we will all look back and talk about the time we spent at home, but we were never apart.  As for me less is definitely not Moore, and I am so proud to work for Moore.