Continuing our series of Adviser Diaries, giving a glimpse into the daily routine of our team members during lockdown, we meet Lewis Brock, Communications Coordinator.
Lewis is responsible for managing the company intranet and internal communication strategies, as well as generating external brand awareness and engagement.
How are you finding lockdown so far?
Having spent the past three months or so acclimatising to the lockdown and the mass uncertainty, I’m now beginning to find the experience much more life-affirming.
The media has and always will be a source of stress and anxiety to me, so after about eight weeks I decided to tune out and stop reading as much news. Instantly I’d say things significantly improved for me.
I am also starting to appreciate the simpler things. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to focus on what really matters in your life. For me, getting a half decent haircut is one of those things.
What does your lockdown office look like?
My lockdown office is very basic. I have a desk and a chair set up in my bedroom that I purchased from Amazon Prime back in April. Progeny were also very generous and issued me a second monitor screen, though I quickly found out that I preferred a note pad instead (apologies!). I am also very fortunate to have a great desk view of the Ochils – a range of hills near Dollar, where I’m from in Scotland – which were very soothing to gaze upon during all two days of the Scottish summer.
What are the biggest professional challenges you’ve faced during lockdown?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced during lockdown has been trying to keep everyone connected. We are a fast-growing company with offices throughout the country. Bringing everyone closer together, many of whom have never met in person, was always going to be a challenge regardless of the lockdown.
However, adopting new technologies and developing our internal communications has proven extremely effective. The establishment of our company-wide Town Halls, training masterclasses, departmental webinars and other virtual events has enabled us to build a sense of community and routine despite not being able to meet face to face. Creating a company culture virtually is difficult, but we have proved it is possible.
Other than that, serving as the Progeny Online Quiz Master each Thursday night has definitely tested my ability to generate questions, 380 and counting!
What are your proudest achievements of the lockdown period?
There have been a few. From a project point of view, helping to build Progeny’s intranet from scratch has been a brilliant experience to be involved in. I am hoping it will serve as a key platform for the business well into the future and transform the way we interact with one another going forward. Learning a lot about new systems and user functionality I feel has placed me well to continue in my new role as Communications Coordinator.
Moreover, I am proud of the relationships I have forged with colleagues during this period – there has been a lot of interaction that might not have occurred if it hadn’t been for the lockdown. Being a part of the Wellbeing committee is another thing which I view as an achievement. Together with the rest of the Champions we are proud and committed to ending the stigma of mental health, especially for the men within the company. It is no secret that most men feel exempt from discussing their mental health, this is something we must address early on before things have the chance to escalate. There are a lot of hidden pressures and expectations that can make us feel low, though, if we communicate openly, we can hopefully create a lasting open culture of support and solidarity.
A final achievement of mine would probably be the ability to demonstrate certain values. It’s easy to talk the talk, but being afforded the rare opportunity to display resilience and responsiveness is something I am pleased with.
What has changed about your role to enable you to continue to operate?
The majority of content we produce revolves around advising people on how to enhance and protect their lifestyles. We certainly feel the topics and advice we’ve produced during the lockdown have been of extremely high quality and relevant.
The work we did in the immediate stages of lockdown was very reactive and steered us towards reassessing how we communicated not only with ourselves, but more importantly with our clients. Now, as a department, marketing and communications are becoming much more proactive which gives us the ability to plan content and initiatives for the future with increased certainty and optimism.
What has stayed the same?
Our desire to continuously improve the Progeny brand and grow our reputation has remained the same. We went into lockdown not fully knowing what the outcome would be, however, we have all really excelled in our desire to improve how we operate for the better. The objective was to always grow, become leaner, more agile and increasingly adaptable in the ever-changing professional environment. This is something which I feel we are achieving daily.
What have you learnt from working remotely?
Apart from realising I am useless at yoga, it is possible to get bored of playing FIFA and that I have a heavy addiction to Deliveroo, quite a lot!
Ultimately, I have learned to be more task orientated. Whilst I do prefer the traditional nine-to-five office structure, during lockdown I feel as if my day revolves more around task completion rather than being guided by the clock. Working remotely has also enabled me to enforce a slightly more domesticated version of Bear Grylls’s mantra: “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.”
What will you/we continue to do once lockdown is over?
Like most, our team has demonstrated we can work just as well, if not better, remotely. We will continue to evolve our connected strategy, grow our team and commit to generating fantastic content and communication for Progeny moving forward. We will also look to maintain our relationships with our partner charities as well as devise new and exciting ways to keep our clients informed.
What are you looking forward to doing most once lockdown is over?
From a personal standpoint, the return of major sporting events is something I am really looking forward to most. This summer especially has been disappointing with the likes of Wimbledon, the Euros and the Olympics having to be postponed. Hopefully this time next year the green light for fans to return to stadiums and for live sport to resume will be given. I plan on visiting South Africa next year to follow the British and Irish Lions tour, so it would be fantastic if that was to go ahead!
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Our CEO Neil Moles often uses an expression, “if you’re standing still, you’re going backwards” and I genuinely believe that to be true in this case. We can’t afford to stand still, not when there is so much opportunity ahead of us. I am grateful to be working with such brilliant individuals who realise the value of putting in the hard yards now, so that we may continue to prosper at the end of this period of uncertainty.