So here we are, almost at the end of April and enjoying the longer days and brighter weather that Spring brings with it, where does the time go?! For many people, working from home this past year has become the new normal and we have seen businesses not only embrace this, but adapt to this new way of working. Thankfully, the developments of technology have meant that people can stay connected, despite working remotely, and for many people it has given them more flexibility and opened more opportunities. I am sure that for many people though, getting back to the office and seeing colleagues in person will be a very welcome change!
In our mission to be completely transparent with our customers, we thought it would be good to give you an update on what has been happening at Indigo Swan over the past few months, and how we are adapting and embracing the gradual return to normality.
Well, what a year! Full of ups and downs, but every day the team at Indigo Swan has stuck together and become stronger for facing the challenges put in front of us, overcoming them, learning from our mistakes, and continuing to find a better way of making WFH work for us and our clients. On the 24th March 2020 we started this journey into the unknown. We had never worked from home before, but when we look back on the last 12 months, the lessons we have learnt, the ways in which we have been tested like never before, it has only allowed us to get better as a business. We have had to find ways to become more efficient, to communicate with each other on a different level, to collaborate even though we are not together and to maintain the strong relationships we have with each other, our clients and our suppliers. I believe that whilst not perfect, we have done a fantastic job. We have all remained motivated, in constant contact with our clients and suppliers and even bought on new business from a number of sectors, all of whom have been facing their own challenges. Hopefully every client, partner, Swan has felt well supported over these last 12 months and I look forward to brighter times ahead, where we can meet again, compare lessons learnt and celebrate in the fact, that through hard work, communication and honesty we have been able to ride the wave of the last 12 months and head into the future potentially in a better position as a business than we did when we entered it.
In late April, we will be looking to open our COVID secure workplace and to start welcoming back the Swans who are keen to get back to normality, who feel comfortable being together but 2 meters apart and who want to be able to get themselves back into the world with the support of the team and their colleagues around them. This will be a gradual return with the hope that come June we can be at full capacity and make use of a newfound flexibility of working from the office or home and doing whatever is right by the client, team, partners and the swans. There are brighter times ahead, but again for now, thanks to every Swan, Client or partner for everything they have done over the last 12 months and for continuing to support Indigo Swan.
We entered 2021 with some continued uncertainty of what lockdown 3.0 and onwards would bring with no definitive end in sight.
It was evident in our results at the start of the year that we were still in the pandemic, receiving around 90% of our expected commission. We were always aware that turning new business off in April 2020 would naturally have it’s impact on the current year. Over the Winter season we would typically see higher usage in the colder months but with some businesses closed, consumption was even lower in certain industries. We’re delighted for the businesses that can reopen this month and wish them the very best picking up where they left off.
Our budgets had to reflect a slower start to the year, however the hard work in securing business in prior years has helped to lessen the impact. On review of our quarter one results and first forecast for 2021, we are set for another record-breaking year and I’m confident that with everyone’s continued hard work, dedication and frequent reforecasting we will achieve our targets.
We are so proud that all Swans remain working, and we have not had to utilise the support of the Job Retention Scheme extension.
Every decision we make considers the safety and wellbeing of our Swans. It has been challenging working from home for over a year, but we didn’t want to commit to returning to the office (the nest) before it was safe to do so. As the world starts to reopen, we want the nest to remain a safe place for the Swans, so we have a small team busy making it a covid secure environment, ready for a rota scheduled return later this month.
We cherish our culture, it is a big part of who we are, and I can’t wait be surrounded by the Swans, and to feel that office buzz again.
Who would have thought we’d still be working from home deep into 2021! While it doesn’t suit the entire team, working from home has been a blessing for lots of Swans. The team have good days and bad days. Bad days can often be compounded when so much time is spent alone on a corner of your dining table or in a small bedroom. We focus on checking in with each other regularly and making sure the good days outweigh the bad.
The team remain focussed on providing great service with a smile. We talk to our customers like we talk to each other. Friendly, positive, supportive. Our customers have good and bad days too, and we like to think a conversation with a Swan will spread a little joy.
Getting back to the office (even just part time) is something we’re all looking forward to. Chats in the kitchen while making a cuppa, lunch in the city with friends from other teams, meetings and business conversations in person without the internet dropping out! A sense of normality after the weirdest 13 months in most people’s living memory.
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