Life in Lockdown

Wed, May 6th, 2020

A blog by Rich Smith, Business Engagement Manager at Liverpool Chamber...

Like many of you, we’re approaching the end of our seventh official week in ‘lockdown’. Looking at my calendar, I can’t believe how long it has been since we’ve not been able to speak face-to-face with family, friends - or chamber members.

My job relies on personal communication and one of the best things about it is meeting chamber members weekly, attending events, making business introductions, supporting businesses in any way I can. So being solely computer-based was originally quite daunting but it has been a really enlightening experience learning and adapting to virtual communication in both my personal and professional life. It’s great to see so many businesses embrace this digital shift which will hopefully be one of the positive outcomes of this whole experience. Not only does it support business continuity but it also allows so much more flexibility as well as benefitting the environment. Meetings are usually much more focussed too!

Supporting businesses remains my main priority and the recent challenges that Covid-19 has thrown up has reaffirmed my understanding of how crucial the support we provide to businesses is at a time like this. Whether signposting companies to financial help and support, gathering feedback to help the government and local politicians better understand the issues which members are facing or connecting businesses who can offer valuable support to other businesses or the local community – all ways in which the team have been supporting members and hopefully we’ve made a difference.

So what are my main positives going forward.

You can’t beat personal contact but working flexibly and remotely certainly has so many social, environmental and economic benefits – it is important we build on that going forward and think seriously about new ways of working. Thankfully, I don’t have offspring reliant on my teaching expertise (or lack thereof) and I doff my cap to those of you trying to juggle hectic family life and remote work! It must be stressful - but keep going, I’m sure you’re doing an outstanding job.

It’s not been without its challenges but this lockdown period has been a chance to embrace digital technology and it has really made us think creatively about how we host and deliver our services to members particularly at a time when they need them most.

I’ve been living in the Liverpool city region for over 15 years (I’m originally from Hull as I’m sure anyone who’s met me could tell from my dulcet tones!) and I’ve found I’m now communicating with family members more than ever. I am using this time to reconnect with friends dotted around the country - and the world - with one friend in Australia recently welcoming his baby daughter into the world.

I’ve come to realise that although business is important, family is also important – with the two more intertwined than ever.

As we move slowly towards the lifting of lockdown, here in the Chamber we will be looking at ways in which we can support members through what is equally unchartered territory. We want you to let us know what kind of support and advice you need as well as any services or advice you can offer. Tell us about your experiences so we can all learn lessons for the future.

Please remember, the Chamber team and I are always here to support you and your company, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on richard.smith@liverpoolchamber.org.uk.

Keep in touch. Keep safe. I’m sure I’ll see you soon.

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