It was March when the Prime Minister laid down the most significant restrictions on British people in living memory. Businesses closed. I learned the word furlough. Zoom became a verb. And we were told we “must stay at home” for the first time.

Since then, it has been quite a ride. Juggling home-schooling for two children when running a business. Suddenly being thrown into a shared office with my husband and children. Not being able to visit friends and relatives, and all the while trying to move to a new house.

Positively, the business has remained strong with people continuing to rely on their accountant, but the last 12 months must go down as one of the toughest so here are five of the things I’ve learned so far:

Be kind
After speaking to people looking for a new career move, it’s clear that some enjoy lockdown, but many find it challenging. I think after so much enforced isolation, people simply want what is best for themselves and their families.

While we don’t have to agree with each other, or even understand everyone’s perspective, I think we need to try to at least listen and respond with compassion.

Furlough, redundancy, working from home, being scared to work in the office, unable to see family, losing someone close; while we are all going through the same pandemic, we are not going through it in the same way. Our experiences are unique, so we need to keep that in mind and try to be kinder.

We’re more resilient than we think
I was about to move to a new house in March. Eight months, two moves, a summer in a holiday let locked down with two children a dog later, and we finally arrived at our (now forever) home.

It is amazing what you can get through if you have a good enough reason and I don’t think any of us should under-estimate the stress the last year has placed upon us but despite that I see people making the most of the situation in the most ingenious ways every day on social media and I believe we will continue to do so until things finally return to ‘normal’.

We all need a positive mindset
As part of my role I talk, reassure, and offer support to people moving job daily. In such a difficult time, finding ways to maintain a positive mindset has never been more important. It keeps people motivated, allows them to remain productive when working at home, and stimulates self-esteem resulting in a happier outlook.

It’s up to each individual to find their way of releasing stress and keeping positive, so I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find exercise and fresh air when walking my dog is a real tonic.

Video Interviews aren’t that bad
I’m still not sure video calls will ever truly replace face-to-face meetings in recruitment but, as Zoom and Microsoft Teams take over the business world, there have been some strong benefits from the new way of working.
Not least is the convenience, but there has also been an important need for people to develop keen listening skills; not to mention the ability to unmute themselves!

We are better together
Separation is not the way I like to live. I miss personal interaction (not to mention shopping and lying on a beach in the sun somewhere hot!). When we get out of this, I plan to make more time to spend with family and those who matter most.

And as things continue to change quickly, I have learned to make the most of the moment, taking opportunities to see friends whenever they arise.

There are, of course, many other valuable lessons I have learned, including the importance of showing gratitude, to be thankful for simple pleasures, and to be prepared for anything – including the return of business as usual soon, I hope.