While Covid has been keeping family and friends apart, West Cumbria area branch manager Lisa Hodgson has recently shared her story of how the pandemic has brought her team closer together.
In a difficult time for everyone, she has seen the importance of raising morale – and raised money for charity in the process.
Here she tells us how she has coped and why talking to each other can be the biggest help of all.
How big is the team you are in charge of?
“At the moment it is around 35 colleagues, and the areas I cover are Whitehaven, Egremont, Cleator Moor, Workington, and since the pandemic Maryport and Silloth too.”
How has it been keeping in contact with everyone?
“Most of us have been in the office the whole time – apart from our colleagues who are shielding – so if anything we’ve had more contact with each other. We didn’t really know the staff in Maryport and Silloth that much before last year, so one of the silver linings has been that we’ve made some new friends along the way.”
How has your own life been affected by the pandemic?
“I’m an extremely social person, and normally at a weekend I’d be out with friends or doing things with family. That’s been the hardest thing for me – my weeks haven’t changed much, but finding things to do with all the time on my hands at the weekends has been difficult. Lockdown has affected everything like that for me.
“One of the things I did was to organise an online afternoon tea, dropping off all the bits people needed at their door and getting everyone together on a video call, and having a laugh and a bit of a sing-song.”
What are your main hopes and plans for 2021?
“Well the first thing I want to do is organise a proper night out with friends when it is safe to do so. I’ve not been able to do that since last February. My colleagues have also been paying into a savings club, so when we can we’ll have a party or a weekend away.
“I also can’t wait to go on holiday!”
What have you done to raise morale amongst colleagues?
“We have done a lot of the things that most people have done like quizzes and games, making Tik Toks, and organising a lunch event for VE Day.
“Even in my previous job I’ve been the person who likes to organise things, and one of the things we do in our branch is raise a little bit of money with a draw for the Grand National. This time we had people from branches all over the company getting involved and doing different things for charity. We raised about £900 in total for various local charities!”
How did it feel to win a 100 Thank Yous award after being nominated by your colleagues?
“I was a bit surprised to receive it, but my colleagues nominated me because they appreciated the things I’d done to keep in contact with everyone and brought people together. I see that as being part of my role as a leader, to make sure everyone is involved and to keep everyone calm and informed.”