As for all businesses across the globe, COVID-19 certainly changed the way that we worked as a company. Prior to the arrival of the virus Smart Planning staff enjoyed using our office space and we all took being able to see each other from across the room for granted. We had to adapt quickly, and that is exactly what we did.

The first step to making our office a COVID safe environment was to ensure that our staff had the facilities to work from home. Staff were provided with two computer monitors, so to replicate the same working experience at home. Where necessary we provided second monitors and headsets to ensure Microsoft Teams meetings could be conducted.

Working from home hasn’t been simple for all staff with common problems such as internet connection speeds, poor phone signal and issues juggling childcare. However, Smart Planning took the initiative to allow certain staff to come into the office to not only assist with their work, but to relieve the stress that working from home was bringing.

A member of our Planning Support Team said:

“Working from home with a three year old, who didn’t understand why the world had come to a stop and couldn’t grasp why I couldn’t pay him the attention I normally do when at home, was an enormous challenge to say the least. It was so extremely stressful for both me and my son, that when my husband was on rest days or doing a late shift, it was agreed that I could work in the office.

This did resort to a little bit of juggling, as on the days my husband would work a late shift, he would drop our son off to me at the office to give me more time there, before I headed off to work from home in the afternoon with my son in tow. After the first lockdown, my son’s nursery reopened on reduced hours and days, and again during and after the summer holidays, which ultimately meant swapping my working days around three times. I am so grateful for the flexible and agile working adopted at such short notice to allow me to work, alleviate stress and gain my sanity back.”

Smart Planning takes the security of our client’s documents very seriously and for that reason we have recently updated our IT systems to ensure that we can work from home with confidence in our systems. Our new technology allows us to work remotely with ease by logging into ‘Session Desktops’ which store all documents safely in ‘the cloud’. During the height of the pandemic, we always had a member of the Planning Support Team at the office to ensure we were still able to receive client calls which we can then transfer to a Consultant or Design Studio Technician’s phone at home.

Life during COVID-19 has been difficult, but there have been many opportunities for staff to show their resilience and continue to provide excellent levels of customer service for both new and existing clients. As more staff return to the office, we look forward to speaking with you about your development aspirations soon.

Check back next week for the second article within our COVID Chronicles mini series.

09 September 2021