So we’re six months into the year and what an extraordinary year it’s been. None of us could have imagined that here in the second week in July we would be looking back on a year where we have spent four months at home; some of us furloughed, some of us working from home, some of us desperately trying to create some sort of normality around the situation that we’ve been in.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at our purpose and our new values and as you’d expect from us the word creativity looms large. So in looking for inspiration for this week’s blog we thought we’d go back to what we said at the start of the year and what our hopes and dreams were for 2020. Of course, all that changed very quickly but let’s have a look at what we suggested in January were going to be the stand-out things that would happen this year.

We said that we would be looking at:

  • the environment
  • diversity equity and inclusion
  • physical and mental health
  • lifelong learning

These were the four things that we were going to be concerning ourselves with at all of the conferences that we were going to be facilitating this year, of which we had many planned.

The environment

One of our top tips back in January was that we should take active steps to promote responsible transport options. Wow! Robin, for example, filled up his car on the 13th of March and then didn’t fill up again until the 27th of June.

That was a huge change and we’ve all seen the pictures of the world with empty roads, fish in Venetian canals, clean air in Los Angeles and nature thriving. Perhaps when we get back to some semblance of normality we should still remember that keeping our transport costs down and keeping our impact on the environment down is still a good idea.

We also looked at the thought of providing alternative options to single use plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups and I think we’ve all seen on zoom calls and teams calls over the last few months everyone with their reusable cups so again we hope that that’s had a good effect on the planet.

Diversity equity and inclusion

At the start of 2020 we also spoke about diversity equity and inclusion which over the last few weeks has taken centre stage. As well as a huge focus on the Black Lives Matter movement we have also observed Pride month with a focus on trans rights and the rights of  all LGBTQ+ people. In January we asked whether or not we were considering diversity and in many of Alan’s poems written week in, week out he has shone a light on this topic. We will be returning to some of those thoughts next week.

Physical and mental health

Next we came to physical and mental health and during live conferences we often try and do something that is physically energising and this has been potentially one of the biggest challenges since lockdown. That of keeping one’s health both physically and mentally.

Robin has started every morning with a Pilates session in his front room and Alana’s continued with her yoga and running (not at the same time), Alan has recently managed to get out on his bike when he can. Hilary is a very keen walker which during lockdown was difficult to do but has since relished the outdoors. George has been running around with her two children keeping the fittest of all of us.

It’s hard enough to keep tabs on ones’ own mental strength during times of ‘normality’ but during these difficult times the world has been so changeable and the environment has kept changing daily. Some of us have been dealing with distance from family, some dealing with grief, some dealing with the complexities around being ‘locked in’ with people that one isn’t normally very close with. We are sure that everyone has been dealing with their own challenges and we wish you all the best in retaining and maintaining a strong healthy mental state.

Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning was our last focus area in January and goodness, hasn’t this been a learning experience? Like so many companies that we’ve worked with in the last six months, we didn’t think that we would be able to do remote working but we have and it’s changed our working model forever. Learning has remained incredibly important during this time; learning about resilience, learning about team working, learning about how to make decisions, learning how to stay connected, learning how to collaborate and learning about inequity and injustice.

So here we are halfway through the year and it’s impossible to say that the next six months won’t be just as challenging, just as difficult or indeed just as much as a gift depending on your viewpoint. Whatever happens we’ll still be here and if you need anything in terms of engaging your people in this still virtual world, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.