Pulling together during lockdown – David Wainwright
Hi, my name’s David Wainwright, I’m a Principal Consultant in the Specialist Business Unit (SBU) here at SSP. I’ve been asked to give my thoughts on how COVID-19 has affected us. I’ve been working at SSP for the last five-and-a-bit years. Initially I was in a project manager’s role, a customer-facing position where I helped deliver software to our underwriters, brokers and IFA customers.
About a year ago, I took a change of role to lead the Business Analysis and Consultancy team which has a variety of people ranging from business analysts right up to senior product consultants. It has a variety of different demands, skill and personalities, which I love. No two days are the same and we have some really great people working for us.
We’ve always had the ability to work from home when it’s been needed, but COVID-19’s changed some of our practices and processes. We’re now working the entire SBU team from home, as are the vast majority of the employees at the moment.
There’s been a number of changes. For the most part we’ve seen these as being cultural rather than technological. All the infrastructure that was in place previously to support home-working has been extended very rapidly by our IT teams and we now have 100% coverage. They’ve continued to roll out some additional capacity to make sure that we reach the demands of quality and robustness in those technological functions as well.
My experiences as a manager have been two-fold; obviously I need to address the day-to-day operation of my team and as such, we’ve shifted all of our operations, meetings and huddles to be IntelliPresence-based rather than one-to-ones. Which in a way has seen benefits in terms of scheduling as we’ve been liberated from finding meeting rooms and facilities and it’s been a great equaliser really in that now everyone dials in, there’s no outliers who struggle against a meeting room full of people.
The second aspect has been around the well-being of my team. It’s been quite an isolating and uncertain time and we’ve had to pull together to keep an eye on each other’s mental health. When things have surfaced, SSP has an employee assistance programme which people have made use of. All in all, it’s been a sense of being apart, but together. We’ve allowed people into our homes and as such, it’s kind of personalised the group of people that we work with. For me that’s been quite supportive during quite a vicious time.