Second lockdown would have huge consequences for us all, warns Sheffield business leader

I reflect on the seven months or so after being in and out of lockdown. The main learning point is how well I coped with the self-isolation period which confirmed my faith in how supportive family, friends and those amazing volunteers were, many of whom were furloughed and decided they wanted to make a contribution.

Work colleagues coped magnificently to maintain customer service by adapting to working from home and how innovative they were to make this happen quickly and seamlessly.

We also learnt some workmates had particular personal and family challenges that needed a sensitive and mutually flexible approach to support them.

We were also resourceful in assessing the technology to underpin this, which re-emphasised how dependent we all are on this not only in business but personal lives too.

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Video-conferencing has replaced physical face-to-face meetings in many companies during the pandemic

Indeed, as the country changed to remote working we had to rethink how we access goods and essential services too.

I had also valued the personal contact with colleagues and customers, building up strong relationships over many years, and supporting each other in good times and bad.

The pandemic compromised this and we reverted to virtual meetings which keep the wheels going, but lacked the warmth of the usual physical face-to-face ones.

At this time of year, we are usually thinking of company, and family get togethers and seeing town centre shops prepare earlier and earlier for the Christmas season.

Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairman

Some colleagues enjoy the flexibility of working from home, but others were missing being part of a face-to-face team operating in an office .

We have needed to respond to that by the consideration of inviting those who had this need to return by opening up secure areas for them to do this, on a limited safe basis.

The extent this aspiration becomes a reality will depend on the ebbs and flows of the coronavirus and whatever restrictions are put in place .

Certainly one big change for all of us is always having a mask available when we leave the house and reminding ourselves what current protocols are in place to use them.

As the darker nights come and we hear of rising number of Covid-19 cases, you wonder if the recent spate of local lockdowns will result in a national one .

That would have huge consequences, not least for our morale and our economy, schools, NHS and, indeed, our very way of life.

The psychological affects alone of this cannot be underestimated and whatever we think about how the pandemic has been managed, we have to avoid this at all costs .

We have had enough advice to know what we personally need to do to avoid it and if we do that we can expect the authorities to fulfil their responsibilities also.

Let us hope collectively we have learnt the lessons of the first seven months or so and can make the run up to the new year better for it.

Hopefully hearing of a vaccine coming in early 2021 too.