29th April 2020
Our employees have been working in challenging circumstances over the past few weeks and all towards a common goal – to stay safe at work while continuing to support food producers with our products and services so that they can safely grow the fish that makes its way to so many dinner tables.
Where our employees can work from home, they are doing this, but some jobs mean that some staff need to travel to their workplaces. To protect our employees and the wider public we have been working extremely hard to ensure we follow the social distancing and hygiene protocols set by the government.
Meet Adam Young
Adam, our Product Development Manager, is normally based at our Inverness Head Office and is currently working from home.
"Given that many of the people I interact with on routine basis are located on different sites around the country I’m very familiar with using the tools we have available, such as video conferencing, and also having routine calls set up for coordinating projects etc. As such it made the transition to working from home very easy in terms of the day-to-day activities I undertake. Many of the casual but informative conversations people generally have when passing in the office do not happen now so a little more structure and effort are required to maintain that information flow, but in that respect daily working life hasn’t changed too much.
I have heard of some parents making their children put on their school uniforms for that time of the day when they are doing their homeschooling lessons. Many years ago, I worked with a colleague who was home-based, and he told me when he got up in the morning he would dress the same as he would if going into the office. It helped him put his head into “work mode”. Well, I have adopted the same approach; I get up at the same time and I put my shirt on as if I was going into the office. It works for me. So, in some respects, life hasn’t changed too much, but in other respects, life has changed dramatically.
There are plenty of stories of the challenges some people have working from home, from the corner of the bedroom, spare room or the dining table, etc., in houses where children are climbing the walls, perhaps a wife or husband also trying to work from home in an environment that just wasn’t designed for that kind of living. I am lucky, I have a study where I simply moved my personal laptop off the desk and set up my work laptop. It forced me to clear the pile of papers I had not filed for a previous couple of months. The reason they’d gathered in the first place is I had my nephew from Australia staying with me for two months and since we don’t get to see much of each other I had determined that spending time doing things together was more important than filing papers.
That is really where I have noticed the difference. I live on my own and as you can see from the photo I can’t have a chat with my neighbour over the fence, so when this all kicked off and by the skin of his teeth I got my nephew on a plane back home, I went from a house with an 18-year-old lad living with me 24/7 to complete isolation. Normally I would see my girlfriend every weekend and her family & grandchildren almost as often, but I have not seen any of them for 6 weeks now. I only see another real human being approximately once every 10 days when I go out for my grocery shopping. I am used to being socially distant, many would say I have been so all my life, but this is to the extreme.
So, the reality is my Gael Force work and in particular video calls with colleagues are by far the bulk of my communication with other people. There are only so many conversations you can have with yourself before you start arguing and that is probably the start of a slippery slope! This has taught me a huge lesson – today’s society communicates predominantly by text message or e-mail, and it is very functional, but do not underestimate the power of the human voice, or better still a video call. I have my work but there are lots of people, perhaps retired, perhaps our colleagues on furlough, who live on their own and who literally will not speak to another person for days on end. How many of us can say we have spent even one day without talking to another human being? Very few, so if you know someone in that situation pick up the phone and speak to them, or better still a video call.