Lockdown Look-back

Posted: Saturday March 13 2021

By: Guest Blogger

What a year! I can remember quite vividly the day we were sent home from the office.  It felt a little like an apocalypse, packing up your desk, emptying your draws and saying goodbye to colleagues you see day in day out. 

Lockdown Look-back

  By Janine Hamilton

There was a slight underlying feeling of not knowing when you would see them again and what that would look like when you did.

With trepidation, I drove home (a ten-minute commute!) wondering how the company I work for would be impacted, whether it would survive and ultimately whether I would still have a job.

It turns out the last year has been be one of the busiest, stressful, exciting and empowering times of my career.

I set up shop in my attic and got to work. EMIS was at the forefront of the COVID pandemic from the start, providing healthcare technology support to NHS Digital and clinicians up and down the country.

In the first 6 months of what was to become a global pandemic, there were some changes made within our organisation, which presented an opportunity for me to step up. I was promoted to Head of Development Programmes and accountable for the delivery of our COVID development projects.

Whilst feeling excited at the prospect of leading a team of fantastic programme and project managers with lots of ideas, I couldn’t help but feel anxious about how exactly I would do this whilst working from my attic and only able to see the team from a grainy video camera.

I’ve certainly found over the last year that allowing your team and colleagues to see your vulnerabilities brings a sense of community. A feeling of being in something together has helped build relationships and a newfound respect for one another.

This year has been tough, not just from a professional perspective with late nights, weekend working and a need for innovative thinking but also from a personal perspective. I am a mum to two young boys and a wife to a wonderfully patient husband. As schools closed, I suddenly felt a sense of dread – how could I possibly give 100% to my job, home-school two boys (one of which was transitioning from nursey to school) and maintain any level of positive mental health.

Taking one day at a time, writing out weekly activity planners and refereeing arguments between the boys, things seemed to fall into a routine and became slightly more manageable.

I started walking in the morning whilst listening to well-being podcasts, which really helped set me up for the day. Although I have to say, the key things to staying sane throughout this last year have been running, home improvements, Zoom catch-ups with friends and an endless supply of gin!

This year has certainly brought different experiences for many people, for some, they have lost their job, others have lost loved ones. I can only imagine how these people will start to re-build their lives after such an unprecedented year.

With a successful vaccination programme underway and a roadmap for lifting the lockdown announced by the Government in February, things are starting to look brighter, a cloud feels to be lifting!

The kids have gone back to school, Spring is in the air and we can start to make plans to see our family and friends again.

As I look back over this last year, I’m grateful to my family, for their patience and unwavering support. I’m thankful for my supportive and determined colleagues who have pulled out all the stops over the last 12 months and my close friends who have provided guidance, love, laughs and honesty!

Here’s to a positive 2021.