UBC Staff Reveal Some of their Magic Moments Made Possible by Lockdown
Amid the many uncertainties and gloomy headlines brought on by the pandemic, there are brighter moments of hope and happiness that continue to shine through.
Carbon emissions dropped sharply last year, resulting in clearer skies and waterways in many parts of the world. Closer to home, we are constantly hearing stories of people who have restarted forgotten hobbies, learned new skills and finally finished that project they started many years ago...
With that in mind, here at UBC, we asked our staff to share some of the positive moments they experienced in the past year, and what they have planned for 2021.
Jane Erasmus, Sales & Marketing Director
A huge positive has been the opportunity to spend more time with my children who are studying and working from home. I am super-proud of their achievements and how they have adapted and coped with restrictions in a generally challenging 2020. The pandemic has made us feel closer and it has been a great comfort to know we are here for each other, supporting each other on the days when one of us might be struggling.
Under normal circumstances, we would be rushing off in different directions, but since we are mostly at home, it allows us to spend more quality time together, taking pleasure in simple things like making and eating meals together, taking country walks and generally enjoying each other’s company (sometimes all 3 at once!)
Before lockdown, I would tend to go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, but with the gyms closed, I have got back into running a couple of times a week; normally I would say I am a fair-weather jogger, but somehow, I have found the motivation to put my running shoes on even on cold, wet and windy days. I guess it’s the need to escape the 4 walls! Oh, and I’ve also found myself addicted to online chess.
My aim for 2021, apart from improving my chess skills and winning a game against a real person, I’d like to get out of lockdown, take a holiday and have the chance to meet up with friends and extended family!
On the work front, I would love to see our clients back in their UBC Centres and do whatever I can to help the teams fill up their UBC offices. We have so much to offer small businesses to help them grow their businesses, and now more than ever we can offer the support they need to adapt to the changing business landscape.
Claire Hancox, Birmingham Business Park
While working from home was necessary at the time, it was tough and isolating for me. But from this, I was able to spend more time with my precious little boy and witness those magic moments and
milestones that I sometimes miss, being a working Mum.
I have also made some really good relationships with my colleagues and clients and formed some really good friendships. As they say… Every cloud 😊
I think lockdown was certainly a time for reflection and with that, it was good to have the time to check-in with loved ones and friends, create a supportive network and make time for things that
My mission in 2021 is... learn to play the drums!
Kevin Barker Thomson, Fleet
The events of 2020 shook things up. In my last job, I felt I was good at it, but I wasn’t doing anything new and in hindsight, I don’t think I was happy there.
Now I’m in a much more exciting space, a different industry, learning new skills and developing. I wouldn’t have ever looked at changing what I did so completely if 2020 hadn’t happened.
I’ve seen the same happen to other people too. The crisis has accelerated change and that isn’t always a bad thing.
The past year has made me appreciate the people around me. We may have lost the ability to do some of the things we used to enjoy but we have had more time to indulge in the things that we still can do. I never realised how much countryside we have on our doorstep, and so many different cool places to go walking.
In 2021, I will continue learning every aspect of my role at UBC. I plan to do whatever I can to make everyone here happy and I’m looking forward to the time when everything is open again.
Sophia Lowe, Henley-in-Arden
This past year I have learnt to appreciate the little things in life. To not take anything for granted and that health, happiness, family, and friends are the most important things in life.
During my time in lockdown, I got back into fitness by completing 1 or 2 online workouts a day, which was not only good for my physical fitness but helped with my mental health whilst being cooped up at home. I also found beautiful walks across the fields and along the canals which I had never really given myself time to explore before lockdown. I enjoyed cooking new recipes and baking cakes and bread. I spent more time reading books and less time on social media and I also started colouring, using an adult colouring book, which I found very therapeutic.
In 2021 my biggest mission is to stay positive. I also want to continue with my fitness journey, try out yoga and continue to stay happy and healthy. For me what impacted me the most was that we came together as a nation and helped people who needed it the most, so this year I would like to pay a part in giving something back. I would like to do something selfless that would make a big difference to others so I have been thinking about volunteering at homeless shelters or a food bank or even doing a charity skydive for a charity close to my heart.
Christine Anderson, Henley-in-Arden
Up until the 20th March 2020, I worked in the hospitality industry, and my last day was the day that the Prime Minister announced that all hotels and hospitality venues would be closing at 5.00 pm that night. I felt very sad to be leaving all my work colleagues, and daily have mixed feelings of sadness and worry for them all, but also relief that I am working during this terrible time.
During the first lockdown, I started my new job as Business Centre Manager with UBC, so I had to learn lots of new systems with just online training. It has been a challenge, but it makes you realise that you are never too old to learn new things.
Before lockdown, I was a little bit of a technophobe! But getting to grips with the dreaded Microsoft Teams and Zoom has been a great way to stay in touch with work colleagues who I have not met face to face.
I have always painted, so during the first lockdown, I gave my neighbours paintings of their houses.
My mission for 2021 is to continue working to keep my business centre as busy as I can, to make it a happy place to work for everyone. I am also looking forward to getting up to Scotland to see my Mum, Dad and sister.