Working during a pandemic, finding a new normal…Ashley

In part two of our COVID blog series we reach out to Ashley, CHR’s Operations Coordinator. Who was at the forefront of ensuring CHR’s seamless transition to working virtually as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

What is your role at CHR, how long have you been with the firm and what did you do before you joined CHR?
“I have been with Cambridge Healthcare Research for 11 Months in the role of an Operations Coordinator. Prior to this I spent last ten years in hospitality industry, working in several bars and restaurants in a managerial capacity. However, I came to a point where I wanted a change of pace and a career in a different Industry. After searching for a new career path, I was lucky enough to find a position here with Cambridge Healthcare Research.”

How have the last few months been for you? Have you been staying safe and healthy? What has CHR’s response to the pandemic been like?
“After the beginning of lockdown, I managed to adapt to working remotely relatively well, thriving in a solitary environment and finding it was a lot easier to concentrate with less day to day distractions. In my daily routine, I found the time to get regular outdoor exercise, which became helpful in breaking up the monotony of being inside 24 hours a day.”

When CHR transitioned to working remotely, how did we facilitate the transition and what kind of support and resources were CHR employees offered?
“During the transition into working remotely, there was huge emphasis by CHR on making sure that its employees were working safely, not just in terms of protecting themselves from the virus but also making sure that their workstations at home were ergonomically fitting and that any and all requests for equipment and resources were met, providing office furniture, additional monitors and computer hardware to anyone who requested it. This was led by the Operations team, so we were certainly busier than ever!

At the beginning of the lockdown, we also sent around information to all members of CHR advising them on best practices for working remotely, such as the ways in which to sit and work at their desks and advice on taking breaks and doing the best for their mental health. Along with this, we also sent out a survey amongst the employees, asking them to detail their workstation set ups so they could be assessed and advised on improvements.”

CHR is still growing despite the current global pandemic, what do you believe is the key to CHR’s success?
“CHR has surrounded itself with passionate and hardworking individuals, with strong work ethics to provide a service to their clients that exceeds expectations. As CHR has grown over the years, so too has its reputation within the industry, making its services in great demand. In order to meet this demand, it has had to increase its numbers through rigorous recruitment drives ensuring that the best and brightest, who share this company’s values, are recruited to secure an even brighter future for CHR.”

One of the key strengths of CHR is our company culture, has the pandemic had an impact on CHR’s culture? How has the firm worked to preserve its values and its culture, as well as the overall sense of connectedness between the team?
“CHR’s strong sense of company culture was very dependent on its face to face relationships, in and around our office environments. When this was taken away during the early days of the lockdown, CHR worked hard to keep this vital contact between its employees alive whilst working remotely with social activities outside the scope of company business. Activities such as virtual quizzes, virtual lunches and charitable fund-raising events, all with a strong reliance on employee engagement, really helped to bring the members of CHR together and keep alive our company culture during these difficult times.”

How has the pandemic impacted the way you work and has it affected the way you engage with your clients and colleagues?
“The pandemic has put an even stronger emphasis on communication within the company, highlighting its need and its constant implementation to adapt to the new ways in which CHR will have to operate for the foreseeable future. As a result, I have adapted the way in which I work to involve a strong dependency on communicating with my team and with the CHR employees that I assist. Regular updates on tasks really helped to streamline my workload and keep those involved informed of my progress.

As contact with my team has been limited, organising my days/weeks have been of the upmost importance, as this lockdown environment has caused me to see the bigger picture in my workload and the capacity, I have needed for it. Both have been advantageous to my career and have really helped me to grow during the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown environment we now find ourselves in.”

Thank you so much to Ashley for sharing his views on working during the Pandemic. We look forward to our final blog of the series from Luke, one of CHR’s Consultants.