This is a personal account from the CRMG team about our experiences managing and coping with the current Coronavirus pandemic. We are real people trying to get through this tough time, and we want to emphasise that we are here to support the community and hope sharing our experiences will help. Please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Account by Simon Rycroft
Director & Co-Founder, CRMG
When Nick Frost and I set up CRMG back at the beginning of 2018, I don’t think either of us would have imagined the business circumstances we now find ourselves in.
In some ways of course very little has changed for us over the last couple of weeks. The Team is used to remote working, and most of our client commitments can be delivered quite straightforwardly via phone and Zoom. To that extent, it’s business as usual.
In other ways, everything has changed. Nick and I always wanted to run this business in as inclusive a way as possible, but that’s now taking on a whole new dimension. The wellbeing of our colleagues and their families – and our duty to support our wider communities through the biggest challenge in a generation – is now our main consideration. If we continue to turn a profit over the next few months, well that’s just a bonus.
On a personal level, these times are tough. My partner and I have been living in Portugal for the last 12 years and we’d already made the decision to move back to the UK this year (not least because the needs of CRMG in the UK now demand it – something I’m delighted and excited about). But being cut off from family at times like these, as so many are now finding out, is horrible. Whereas before I knew I could hop on a plane at any time to attend a meeting or visit my family, I can now – just like the UK – only go out onto the street if I need food, medication or exercise. Although we’ve had a little longer to get used to it than the UK (the lockdown here began some 12 days ago), the psychological effect is intense.
So, for now, it’s a matter of turning this very strange period of isolation to our advantage. Professionally, that means bringing together mini task forces within the Team to brainstorm new service offerings whilst maintaining business as usual. Personally, it means revisiting all those piano pieces that I previously dismissed as way too difficult. Nothing’s too difficult if you practice enough.
On top of that, there’s Monty the dog to keep sane. We’ve got off lightly so far. I’m all too aware that this must seem nothing compared with a family that needs to hold down a job that can’t be done remotely, and with kids who now need to be home schooled.
The bottom line is that we’re all responding to fast-changing circumstances whilst maintaining as much a semblance of normality as possible. Today we held a meeting with CyBourn – a business partner that specialises in monitoring and responding to online threats real-time. There’s very clear evidence that the bad guys are moving fast to take advantage of the sudden and massive shift to working online. For what it’s worth, in my view, there’s a special place in hell for those individuals who seek to exploit the vulnerabilities of a society facing the biggest health crisis in many generations. So for the time being our primary focus has to be on staying safe – both from the virus and from the online threat.