Committee Reflection on 2020 & Hopes for 2021 – Part One

What a year 2020 was, am I right? I believe the most popular word to describe 2020 was ‘unprecedented’ and when hearing that word it’s easy to get fixed on it and feel that we lost a year. So, we wanted to bring you some positive vibes!

We asked the EWL committee to reflect on 2020 and to share their thoughts and what their hopes are for 2021. The committee had so much to share, we decided to split the blog in two parts.

In part one you will hear from James, Esme, Roshan and Bianca. In part two, being released next week, you will hear from Cher, Kristian, Sophie and Phil.

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as each of us did writing it. It reminded us of all the growth each of us have gone through, but also the growth of us all as a network, community, industry and a Nation.

We would love for you to share this blog, as well as your own thoughts and reflections!

James Bradley (Co-Chair & Co-Founder of EWL; Director at Churchill Group)

2020 was a difficult year for most of us – I’d imagine very few worldwide have been unaffected. However, I think it is fair to say there have also been some real positives;

– More and more of us are caring for our precious environment
– Back Lives Matter educated millions of people across the globe
– Technology was forced to once again up its game
– And on a more local level it was great to see our deep routed care and compassion for one and other
– I could go on…

I don’t see any of the above just staying in 2020, and I sincerely hope we can collectively take these positives into 2021 – I for one will be doing my bit! And it goes without saying, lets also leave the negatives firmly behind.

Of course, this will be easier said than done. However, I do believe our amazing FM industry is well equipped to positively contribute towards the challenge. Afterall, we’re all change experts, comfortable operating in changing times and are good at getting things done! All things in my mind, we should celebrate and be inspired by.

So, whether we’re helping to ensure our infrastructure is hygienic and safe, deploying social value in our core operations, or supporting pretty much every sector back to the new normal; I’m looking forward to embracing 2021, and taking inspiration from the knowledge and belief that Facilities Management can do so much towards our futures. Wishing all a great 2021.

Esme Banks (EWL Committee Member; Development Director at Leesman)

In April 2020, two weeks after the first official UK lockdown began, I started my new role at Leesman. I‘d just taken after a 30+ hour emergency flight home from Auckland (via Sydney, and then Singapore – both places I was due to stay on my trip), which saw me arrive home a day before Jacinda Ardern closed the NZ border.

I’ve reflected a lot recently, as is common this time of year… My first day was of course, remote. My inductions were remote, my laptop was couriered to me ahead of my start date, complete with moleskin notebook and the latest Leesman reading list. I learnt quickly that the team, along with the rest of the world in 2020, are fans of video-on VCs.

I considered myself very lucky at the time, because I’m very used to working at my kitchen table. For a great deal of us, this wasn’t really anything new. For others, they’d never worked in such a remote way before. There’s a lot to love and a lot to hate. Whether you’re used to it or not, it is different. Working from home during a global pandemic is not the same as working remotely one day a week so that you can have some ‘uninterrupted’ time to write that proposal, design the new brochure, pick the kids up from school…

Starting at Leesman felt a little like a homecoming. I’ve worked alongside the brand for almost five years and in terms of workplace, they’ve been my de facto reference since 2015. The act of getting home to North London at the beginning of a global pandemic was also a homecoming of sorts. And as we can all appreciate, there was a much wider homecoming going on, as millions were sent home, from work, to work, from home.

Technically speaking I can ‘do’ my job from anywhere. So many in our industry can’t. They continue to go into workplaces, in there many forms, day in day out to clean, secure, feed those who are still around, fix things that need fixing and carry on with their ‘work’.

A very unforeseen circumstance is what got us here. And while much of the literature we’ve read the last 10 – 12 months is about collective efforts – and we are all in this together, whether that’s supporting the direct fight against the spread or relying on, or aiding, loved ones less able to get by – the impact is affecting us all differently. We’re all coping differently. Life is different for each of us, we all ‘handle’ things in different ways – a bit like how we all need different things from the places we work from. We have different daily tasks to complete and we all require things to be slightly different to be able to complete them. The capacity to empathise will, I hope, remain an important trait for all in 2021.  

Roshan Deshmanya (EWL Committee Member & Communication Lead; Account Manager at CBRE)

Like it was for most people, 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for me personally and professionally, where I learned how to properly care for myself and my fellow human through a variety of unexpected yet valuable experiences. It was a year where I tried to rebalance and recalibrate. Self reflection allowed me to discover what is truly important to me and live more in alignment with my values where I previously had not been. I appreciated and craved for the simple things in life. I took on the challenge and led two accounts through uncertain times, navigating through furloughs and redundancy consultations while trying to maintain engagement and belonging (tough stuff!). Vulnerability and empathy played a huge part in my teams being able to achieve all of our clients’ business objectives and have our most successful year yet. I finished my ILM-5 course. I started immersing myself more in my passion areas and focussed on using different parts of the brain. And after feeling burnt out for most of the year, I rediscovered there’s more to life than just work!

For me, 2021 is about maintaining overall balance in life and continuing to do things I’m passionate about, both in and out of work. I’m looking forward to living somewhere new and doing some renovations and gardening. I’m going to visit all my family and friends back in Australia for the first time in two years. I’m going to build good habits and routines to keep healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’m going to continue welcoming challenges and opportunities that come my way at work with open arms. I’m going to continue supporting and empowering my teams to achieve new heights. I’m going to be more self aware and speak up about things I think are important for the world. And I’m going to keep reminding myself that happiness is a choice and remain positive through the tough times, because they’ll still be around even though 2020 won’t!

Bianca Angelico (EWL Committee Member & Co-Founder; Director of Guest Services at Amulet)

A year I will never forget but not for the reason you are thinking but because the following good happened to me; 

  • I got a promotion to Account Manager & Guest Services Lead.
  • It was the first time I led a team of more than 100 employees, and it was tough doing the majority online during a pandemic; however, it was amazing with lots of laughs and problem solving!
  • I did the Tony Robbins UPW event virtually and it was incredible (if you are thinking about it – do it. Life changing!).
  • Personally, I got married in tier 3 just before tier 4 kicked in; and also got to travel to Portugal and Cape Town 

So, for me 2020 was lots of highs, and don’t get me wrong there were low lows such as a complete breakdown, but I’m deciding to focus on the good and taking the lows as lessons. 

I’m seeing 2020 as the foundation for 2021. I start my dream job at Amulet as their Director of Guest Services this month – can’t freaking wait!

Personally, I hope to travel lots and have my big wedding day in Cape Town.

My word for 2021 is ‘fearless’ ~ saying yes before I’m ready, and being ok with being uncomfortable.

What’s your word? Share with us…

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