Reasons to be cheerful: Part 3

Running a small business isn’t easy at the best of times and let’s face it the last few weeks have not been the best of times.

However, we’re adaptable and resourceful otherwise we wouldn’t be running our own firms and on reflection there’s plenty to be grateful for. Ok, let’s start with the obvious.

1: Journey to work. Four steps into the garden summerhouse. Devoid of the comfortable furniture it’s nevertheless functional and light.

I brought my desk and chair home from office and now have a dedicated space. The kitchen kettle is within easy reach but I’m not under the feet of anyone or constantly disturbed. I am surrounded by birds: mainly sparrows but get the occasional fly past from the neighbourhood geese.

There’s also a family of field mice who are very busy and Mr Frog makes very fleeting appearances.

2: The tech that binds. If this lockdown had happened 10 years ago, I’m fairly certain the business would have folded. Zoom and other video conferencing tools have proved to be wonderful enablers — life savers even. They’ve helped foster decent communication and that’s vital in these times.

3: The arrival of uber flexible working. This morning I awoke to two emails from a client that were sent way the wrong side of midnight.

Frankly — though unusual for this individual — it really didn’t surprise me. There’s a danger that you’re never away from work and never able to switch off.

The government acted swiftly and gave people like me a wee bit of breathing space

However, we are all adapting and actually proving that working from home can work and, done right, may even be good for work life balance. Every silver lining…and all that.

4: Random acts of kindness. There are a long list of clients, suppliers, friends and acquaintances who have been in touch and been incredibly supportive. In these extraordinarily difficult times for businesses like ours we have won new work from several of our long terms supporters and this work will help sustain us.

So, Claire, Clive, Alison, Adam, Shelley, Nick, Neil, Paul, Andrea, Georgia, Ben, Mark, and the other Adam & many more: cheers.

5: Government support. I’m no fan usually of the party in blue but credit where it’s due - the support given in terms of grants and the rapid introduction of the furlough scheme has been nothing short of miraculous.

Yes, unfortunately, the schemes are not perfect and too many people are still caught in the cracks, but the government acted swiftly and gave people like me a wee bit of breathing space - which was vital when it was announced.

6: The Viva crew. I can’t thank Alan, Lisa, Jac, Jo, Nic, Harry, Anna, Hannah, Sharon, Nick, Simon and Kat enough for supporting me and one another. They’ve made sure that we haven’t made a drama out of a crisis.

The Zoom yoga, bootcamp and newly introduced Friday drinks sessions have ensured a few laughs. Despite the social distance, I’d say we’ve never been closer.

7: The Mrs. A nurse and not at all comfortable with the hero tag late in her career, but my best friend, inspiration and support. So glad I’ve still got her to share this madness with — PPE marks and all!

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