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“Adapting to meeting colleagues virtually was a mix of stressful, hilarious and wonderment at how this all works. ”

Keith Bushell - IT Operations, British Airways
Dear me,

Dear me,

Hello. I bet when you were playing for the youth team of a very famous football club you never thought you’d end up working in the IT department of a very famous airline, British Airways. It’s actually quite similar in a lot of ways – I have to work as part of a team, I have to practise my skills and keep my mind fit and active by keeping up to date with the never ending developments in the IT world. I also have to manage a team of people, which is just like being the captain on the pitch.

 When the country locked down in March 2020, virtually all flights stopped, but the IT didn’t. Our team is responsible for supporting the IT operation worldwide, including the website and systems supporting the customer contact centres, which are even more important at times like these.

So, working from home is a bit different to ‘homework’ you used to do while listening to Led Zeppelin, very loudly! At the start there was competition amongst four of us to find an acceptable work space but we all settled quite quickly. My space of choice is the conservatory – although it’s a bit like working in a greenhouse, there’s plenty of light. I keep having to remind myself not to burst into another room celebrating my latest achievement (bit like scoring a goal) or to share a crisis (bit like scoring an own goal) in case somebody is on a ‘work’ call and I can be heard. You remember how Mum and Dad used to embarrass you? Well, my children are still embarrassed by me even in their early 20’s.

Adapting to meeting colleagues virtually was a mix of stressful, hilarious and wonderment at how this all works. The chance to have a peek at people’s homes (I’m sure everybody did it), see how not being able to go to the hairdressers changed people’s appearance and of course to witness children asking parents for biscuits (and many other things) was priceless. I work with people based all over the world from Europe to India which is such a privilege, and the understanding that we are all going through this together I think brought a bigger sense of togetherness.

One thing I wonder is…what do my wife and children think of the working me? Would they want to work for or with me? I’m too scared to ask at the moment!

One of the positive things of lockdown has been meeting up virtually with friends that I wouldn’t usually see from one month to the next during normal times. Amongst other things, we do quizzes and share our top music albums and films. Do you remember how your sister got you to sing records made by The Beatles? Well, I’m still a huge fan even now and have learnt how to play the guitar (very very badly my children would say).

As a family we play a lot of games and have got hooked on ‘Escape Room’ games where you have to solve a series of clues and riddles to discover passwords and codes to escape a virtual room. They can be played over a number of hours or days and it’s really interesting to see how family members have different strengths in their approach to solving problems and working together. I’m the numbers and analysis person.

Mainly I feel very grateful that as a family we’re managing to enjoy this enforced time together, been able to discover even more of our local surroundings while out walking and it’s helped me realise that it’s the small things that make me happy.