This is the most challenging working year that I can remember. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. From speaking to most of you during the past few months I know how hard this has been on a personal and professional level. Some of you have been sick yourselves, many others have had the worrying experience of seeing family and friends succumb to illness.
I also understand how the pandemic takes its toll on our mental wellbeing. Anxiety can be just as infectious as a virus. Adjusting to long-term change in the working environment tests our resilience daily. Home office life can be isolating on the one hand, on the other it may place pressure on domestic relationships, parenting and care of older family members.
This is just one side to the struggle. Our clients, too, face unprecedented human and business challenges and expect us to go above and beyond normal levels of service. Everyone at NCS, without exception, has stepped up to the mark. There’s more to this than putting in the hours. Working remotely has encouraged us to work smarter, helping anxious clients to cut through the noise, set priorities, and reach these goals as efficiently as possible.
The pandemic has also forced us to rethink what it means to be an employee at NCS. I have always said that we are a people-first business and 2020 has put this philosophy to the ultimate test.
In the weeks before the first lockdown, it was clear that COVID-19 represented a grave threat to the health of the U.K. As a result, we introduced a package of measures to protect the well-being of our staff. This included everything from equipment to run a productive home office to our bi-weekly team calls where everyone is encouraged to speak openly about their experiences and call on any support you may need.
Although we could only guess at the long-term implications, we were nevertheless certain that everyone would face unique challenges during the transition to remote working. That’s why we also took steps to provide round-the-clock HR support for all of you, whenever it’s needed.
Revisiting the way that we provide services also offered the opportunity to refine our delivery model. We’ve perfected a new remote onboarding process, which opens the door to new business opportunities from further afield. Optimising a working from home environment also means that we can bring on new hires from a wider talent pool, irrespective of their U.K. location.
As you can tell, I am optimistic about the future, the acquisition of new business and the opportunity to reward all your hard work. That said, I also know that recent workloads have sometimes tested the work-life balance of our people, so we are putting in place measures to reduce this pressure. This includes greater flexibility to use up your full holiday entitlement while encouraging ad-hoc breaks to care for families and loved ones.
As the holiday season approaches, this takes on even greater importance and we will monitor the government’s guidance with the aim of maximizing the opportunity for people to spend time with friends and family in December and New Year.
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been overwhelmed by the way that everyone at NCS has risen to the challenge. Not just as individuals, but as a team ready to step in and support one another at a moment’s notice.
I’d like to share my deepest thanks for your resilience and creativity in the face of the crisis, and I am certain that the business will be stronger and grow faster as a result. If you need any additional help or have further ideas about how NCS can better support its employees and clients, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.