June 30, 2020
Spring 2020 - the UK, like most countries around the world, plunges into lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oblivious to anything going on out in the wider world is my 1 year-old daughter, Connie. In fact, she’s loving life - Mummy and Daddy are both around a lot more than normal and Nana and Grandad now appear on the TV on a regular basis: as Zoom gatherings fill in for actual visits. What more could a little girl want?
Balancing parenting and working is challenging at the best of times, but it does bring opportunities where you might not expect them. Over the last year and a half, some of my finest moments of inspiration have occurred during a 4am feed - the sleep deprivation somehow sparking lightbulb moments. When PensionSync was acquired by Australian software company KeyPay in summer 2019, the night feeds became an ideal opportunity to badger my new colleagues in a time-zone appropriate manner. I’m sure they are relieved that Connie now sleeps through the night.
As a business, we work flexibly in the truest sense of the word. We’re all home-based. We work early mornings, late nights, weekends where it’s beneficial to do so and we are empowered to take time back during the normal working day where we need it. During the lockdown, with childcare cut off, that ethos has been tested and flexed to the extreme. My wife and I have been tag-teaming in and out of childcare, fitting it in around both having busy jobs. It’s tough, but it works, predominantly because both of our employers endorse flexible working completely and provide us with access to all the technology and resources we need.
Meanwhile, Connie learned to walk. She’s still learning and experimenting. Sometimes she still relies on holding a hand, but she’s getting more confident and steady every day. She can stop and stand on the spot, and she can change direction. She can get out of the dog’s way when she needs to (which is often). Funnily enough, she learned to crawl after she learned to walk. And where neither a walk nor a crawl will do, she still relies on her personal favourite mode of transport - the bum shuffle. It’s not elegant, but she can scoot along deceptively quickly. Like many of us, Connie has learned to be flexible and in doing so she’s managed to find some positives in lockdown.
“Does it do this?” is perhaps the most important question a customer can ask.
After several years of pure pension scheme implementation, the opportunity for change excited me.