Keeping in touch is key

Thursday 2nd April 2020

It’s been a challenging time for everyone of late as we all try and adapt to our new ‘normal’. Here, our centre manger Di Rodgers explains a little about how she has adjusted to her new role working from home and what she is doing to maintain essential contact with people to help her through!
As someone who is used to being in a very ‘people orientated’ job, I’ve found this period of social distancing really difficult. It’s been hard not seeing my work mates every day as you just get used to chatting about your lives and what projects we are focussed on. We work in a really relaxed way so it’s strange feeling very detached from them. I’m missing the daily banter and also talking to the those who work in our stores, having a laugh with the cleaning and security teams and of course our lovely customers!
Digital focus
To make up for the lack of daily contact, I’ve turned everything digital! That way I can still make sure I speak to my colleagues and the security team on site most days. We also have regular conference calls with our directors and the other centre managers across the country as its vital we keep talking, sharing information as well as being a support to one another.
On a personal note, it’s also been really important to keep in contact with my family. I really miss my big sister Sue and my nieces Jasmine and Georgia as we are really close and I hate not being able to pop in and see them. So, I have set up a family What’s App group so we can all keep in touch. My cousins and aunt and uncle are spread all over the country from Inverness to Horsham so it’s been great to get their messages and see what everyone is up to. I really hope we carry on after we get back to normal life.
Checking in with everyone makes me feel happier because I can offer my help if it’s needed. My husband’s parents are both older and have underlying health conditions so we are speaking to them every day. My own Dad is also older and has COPD so I’ve been chatting to him by text or call to make sure he is coping. I think it’s made us all realise just how much friends and family mean to you, and that you shouldn’t take them for granted. I message my best friend every day to check on her too, she has a very stressful job and I worry about her a lot. Keeping in touch really is key.
Don’t struggle alone
For people reading this who maybe struggling with feeling isolated, there are some great support groups out there. Definitely keep talking. It helps if you can get on-line too and I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter and laughing at the great posts people put on just to take a break from the news which can be quite overwhelming. We also took part in a pub quiz which was good fun. I think it’s important that you don’t wait for people to contact you, pick up the phone!
I also make sure I go out to walk our lovely pooch every day and my husband is doing the shopping for us and his parents. I’m keeping positive by planning the re-opening of the Centre and thinking about how great it will be when our lovely customers come flooding back!
Looking ahead
We were working on some really exciting projects before we closed so we are doing what we can to progress these from home, but I can’t wait to return to the office to really get things moving again! The Centre’s five-year strategy plan is keeping me busy and I’ve already nearly finished our re-opening action plan!
Just before we closed, the whole Centre really pulled together. We have a centre communication group and everyone was so supportive of each other, it was really humbling. We had people taking cups of tea to anyone that needed one and popping in on each other to make sure everyone was ok. It made me really proud of all of our staff and retailers and I just can’t wait to get back to my Lakeside Village family and welcome our wonderful customers once more!