A year on. How being a ‘people-business’ got us through.
A year ago today, we made the difficult decision to pack up our office and ask our team to work from home. 365 days ago, this was an alien concept, now the norm.
Christmas spirit at Pharos - unaffected by COVID.
From packing up to new beginnings
A year ago today, we made the difficult decision to pack up our office and ask our team to work from home. 365 days ago, this was an alien concept, now the norm. Our office is a small, cosy space; not particularly great for social distancing so the safety of our team was our priority. The bizarre memory of shoe-horning office chairs and iMacs into car boots will stay with us for some time!
Back then, we were on the brink of signing a new lease to double our office space. Like so many businesses, we focused on making savings where possible in response to the worryingly uncertain future. It would have been foolhardy to sign a lease committing to additional office space we weren’t allowed to use. We’re now delighted to say that a year on to the day (coincidentally) we have finally signed that lease. The start of new beginnings!
So, we’ll be spending the next few weeks of lockdown fixing-up this additional tired room into a nice environment for our team to return to. Crucially, the additional space will enable us to distance properly in the office while COVID remains at large. Pharos is very much a people-business and we can’t wait to get back to ‘normal’ times when we can work alongside each other rather than through a screen.
Put your people first, especially when the going gets tough
To say the past year has been a challenge is an understatement, as it has been for so many. A large number of our clients became the very worst affected by the restrictions, they have not seen a penny of sales income since March. They remain unable to operate and the unlocking roadmap doesn’t yet provide any security for them.
Throughout, our focus has been to hold onto our people-business values. To look after our own team and our clients as best we can. Making personal sacrifices to help stabilise the business for the security of all those who rely on us. Providing free contract extensions to clients affected by COVID so they could call upon us without charge. Sharing our expertise and (then) newfound knowledge of operating in a COVID landscape through free webinars, risk assessment templates and guidance documents. Providing flexibility for clients in distress rather than holding them to contractual terms.
Looking back on the past year, regardless of the challenges, we are proud to be able to hold our heads up high. To say we did what we could to protect those closest to us and to support our wider network. In crisis management training, we remind delegates to take a human approach. So we just practised what we have always preached. Easier said than done when your own future is uncertain but we wholeheartedly stand by this approach.
Thankfully, now the fog is lifting and we can see the light at the end, we are excited about the year ahead. We’ve seen some brilliant examples within our network of innovation, of caring and supporting others and of adapting to the significant challenges.
Our hope is that this experience and attitude remains and we all emerge from the end of the tunnel better and stronger for it.
‘Pharos’ means lighthouse in Ancient Greek. Wonderful to see the guiding light through the fog.