It’s March 2020 and we are being asked to leave the office and work from home for an unknown amount of time. I grab a few things from my desk and wonder if I need to take my plant or if I’ll be back before it gets too thirsty. With a naivety that, with hindsight, makes me smile, I head for home and expect to see everyone in a week or so.
I’ve set my things up temporarily on my dining room table, all extension leads and optimism. I’m stocked up on canned food and worrying if 18 toilet rolls is enough for one person, I have been invited to a virtual quiz and Zoom is now life.
And so begins the first lockdown.
Over two years later and thankfully I did take the plant with me that day. I’m no longer working from the table and my toilet roll usage is barely on my mind. But one thing that came out of lockdown still remains, and we call it Kickstart My Heart (KSMH).
Now I can’t lie, I had to look this up, and Google tells me that it’s the title of a Mötley Crüe song. But for the Experience Design team it’s our morning catch up. 15 minutes where we can check in, talk about our weekend, discuss evening plans and go over the important things, like someone changing the lampshade in their home office, current media scandals,
weird local news stories, and the obligatory round of applause for anyone who’s had their hair done.
Over the last two years we’ve had 11 new team members join, nine team members promoted, two changes of role within the team, five house moves (soon to be seven) and countless positive covid tests.
We’ve celebrated together, laughed together, complained together, learned together, and (especially in my case) cried at each other. Seeing the best of times and helping each other through the worst.
KSMH is not a place for work updates or reporting to anyone. It started off as a way to ensure we were all okay during a weird time in our lives and it’s evolved to be a place to get to know each other and to make remote team members feel just as involved as those who can be in the office together. It’s made us a close knit team who look out for each other.
It has encouraged us to check in on people who may seem quiet or who have mentioned something during a discussion. It has inspired lunchtime jaunts and evening activities (axe throwing, darts, bowling, comedy nights to name a few) and has been the spark of many conversations throughout the day in our team Slack channel.
It has also uncovered some home truths about team members, such as one person’s love of lasagne made with cheddar cheese which sent heads spinning in the Italian contingent of the team as well as anyone who likes food, but we still love them.
But it hasn’t just helped us to be more social – being such a close team has meant that we collaborate more, seek out advice from each other, and are able to successfully and productively critique each other’s work. We welcome discussion and invite all points of view and opinions.
Just as long as it doesn’t involve the wrong type of cheese…