Posted: 01 May. 2020 3 min. read

The future is bright

COVID-19 is personal. Everyone has a different story to tell about how the pandemic is affecting them and their loved ones.

Many of us will know people close to us who have fallen ill from the virus, or we might have had symptoms ourselves. Some of us live alone, battling feelings of loneliness, and missing that connection with our friends and family. And others are having to find a way to juggle what was an already difficult balance of work and childcare - without the respite of school and nursery support.

Daniel joined Deloitte in 2018 as a BrightStart Apprentice. He's now in his second year of the three-year programme, and is based in our Digital Workplace team - focused on modernising how companies work and support their employees.

Daniel lives in East London with his housemate - someone he's probably spent more time with over the last month than ever before! We caught up over Skype to find out how he's coping with lockdown life.

The new normal

"I'm a naturally sociable person - I like being out and about, and spending time with my friends. When the lockdown first started I was worried. I've worked from home before, which you'd expect given my role - but I do prefer to be on client site and around other people.

I think the lack of routine is my biggest challenge. I live about half an hour from my client site, and I miss the daily routine of commuting and spending time with people in the office. It's a big change to get used to - now I wake up, get dressed, have breakfast and work in my room.

As part of the Brightstart programme, I normally spend a week at Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, every couple of months, with around 60 others in my group. During the lockdown, we've had our college time remotely - and they've been great. They use Google Hangouts, so we're all together in the same call. It feels a bit weird - and I'd much rather be sitting around a table working together.

But I'm getting used to it. And I've actually surprised myself with how well I've adapted - it hasn't been as difficult as I worried it might be."

A delicate balance

"I live in Stratford, London, with my flatmate. I've actually spent more time with him during lockdown than the whole time we've lived together! It's a bit of a balancing act sometimes in the flat - the kitchen and living area can be out of bounds at some points during the day when he's working in there.

But we're pretty open with each other - and always voice our concerns when we need to. So it hasn't really been a problem. It does mean I tend to work from my room. My room is pretty small, but I've bought myself a desk and a chair, so I have a nice set-up which has helped a lot.

I make a point of spending evenings in the living room with my flatmate, so I'm not in my room 24/7. And I also take frequent breaks during the day - I go for walks and listen to music. I definitely appreciate the simple pleasure of going outside and getting fresh air more than ever before!"

A Zooming social life

"I think it's easy to feel lonely in this situation - and I know I have from time to time. Before the lockdown I'd always spend my evenings and weekends with my friends, or would go and see my parents. So this has been a big adjustment.

But my social life is the one thing that the lockdown took away from me that I've found a way to get back. I'm the social secretary of my friendship group. I think I've taken on that role really, to make sure we stay in regular contact and that I always have people to talk to and play games with.

And, to be honest, I've probably been talking to my friends more during lockdown than ever! Every time we get together we chat for a couple of hours, and it's really helped me a lot having that interaction with friends after work. We do regular Zoom calls, and play games online. We've recently got really into the Monopoly app, which is probably a bit embarrassing, but it's been lots of fun!

I've never really had the attention span for games before - I'd get bored too easily. But I'm starting to enjoy all of the things I wouldn't previously have made time for."

The future is bright

"COVID-19 has been interesting from a work perspective for me, because there's even more of a need than ever for what we do as a team - and at speed too! And we're getting great feedback from our client at the moment, which has been really nice to see.

One thing I've really noticed is a shift towards being more people focused in what we do. We're supporting clients to roll-out new technology and software at such speed, and so we're spending a lot more time talking them through it, answering questions and helping them understand. For a lot of people, not only are they working from home for the first time - but they're having to get to grips with completely new technology. And that means they need support to guide them through.

I feel like this focus on people is quite a positive outcome, and I hope it continues long after this pandemic ends. People are ultimately the most important part of any business, and our team is really here to improve the employee experience at work."