Long Time, No See Family Wise Readers!

7 April 2020

It has been a while since I have written a blog. Not because I don’t want to. And not because I have nothing to blog about. It’s more about time or generally, lack thereof in my case. When I left full-time employment (otherwise known as teaching) and went solo and self-employed running Family Wise, I was told that it would be a great idea to blog every day. So, I did! For years. As the business grew, the blogs became less and less frequent and then, in early 2019, someone else took over the mantle of social media on the FWL team. And this continues now (though with a different incumbent of the role).

FWL looks very different to 2013 and the April 2020 version is unrecognisable to the February 2020 edition. Thanks to the place the world now finds itself in, we have most staff working from home with just two of us in the office most days.

Many people will have been presented with enormous challenges. Different challenges for each individual and family the world over. Some people have lost their jobs. Some people have been furloughed. For me, life has not changed so much. I live with the same two furry creatures and go to the same place of work. But my senior team are largely not in the office and the admin team are all working from home along with all our researchers and office juniors. We are having to change roles. Do tasks we never knew how to do before. I have had to use the franking machine, order stationery, liaise with suppliers (including the waste collection), be one of the first (rather than last) ones to answer incoming calls, get all the identification certified and returned to beneficiaries, print almost every single sheet of paper which leaves the office and more besides. As well as trying to keep on top of everything I need to do as MD.

Is that easy? No! Not at all. But we could have it a lot worse. And the FWL team have almost seamlessly flexed (and bent over backwards) to support one another and make sure the wheels keep turning.

I don’t have any more time than I had before, but I am using my time more wisely now. Last weekend was no different in my house than it would have been prior to current issues. However, I achieved a huge amount more than normal. Moved projects forward, fired emails over to people detailing crazy ideas which had come into my head, caught up with more work than I would normally and spoke to dozens of people to check in and see how they were doing.

As a genealogist, I am ‘lucky’ that some of my work can be done online and at FWL, we have good online/virtual processes already as we have people working for us around the world. We have been trying our hardest to pay out estates where we can, to pass on money to beneficiaries in times (for some) of significant hardship. I have noticed a couple of interesting things from our clients …

They are, in the most part, wanting to talk more. They ask how we are coping as a business and we talk about how they are coping, wherever they are in the world.

They generally show more gratitude, be that for our time or the information we give them, or whatever. I have heard ‘thank you’ more in the last two weeks than in many months before.

Those who have struggled to find the time to sort out paperwork, suddenly have the time to focus on getting their documents sorted.

Sitting here on the weekend, home with the two furry ones, those bold words are what I take from this bizarre situation we find ourselves in. I hope that those things remain when these times pass. I hope that we see some changes for the positive (not least, the cost of diesel seems to have dropped by at least 10p a litre, it seems!).

Stay well, FWL readers.

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