A year of working from home

We caught up with our Support Director, Steve Leaper about how he has found the past year working from home.

Like everyone else, Apollo watched with growing concern as events that had apparently begun in the East began to spread Westward across Europe toward the UK. We began to review the risks to our operations and staff as it became increasingly clear that the COVID-19 virus was not being contained and that a global pandemic was unfolding.

Apollo has always been a dynamic and reactive business and has always strived to make it easy for staff to do what they enjoy doing most – providing engineering solutions to our clients so they they can focus on managing their businesses. To enable staff to be as flexible as possible in meeting our clients’ needs, we’d long had a policy of issuing portable devices featuring preconfigured VPN connections to company systems and information. After some due diligence around our network’s ability to cope with significant number of remote connections we quickly satisfied ourselves that the technology at least would ensure that Apollo’s operations could successfully move from shared offices to individual homes if a public lockdown became necessary.

When lockdown did arrive, the transition to home working was efficient. In hindsight one minor area in which we could have been better prepared was in was the use of business communication platforms. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we’d deployed Microsoft Teams and begun to explore its capabilities, but it’s fair to say we were in the early phase of that process. Thankfully, Teams has proved a versatile tool, and any early inexperience was rapidly overcome. And Teams has proved its worth beyond operations, impacting positively on Apollo’s more social aspects of main team cohesion and culture in challenging circumstances.

From continuing to meet our client’s needs to wining significant new contracts and onboarding well over 100 people in the last year, I’ve been genuinely impressed by Apollo’s ability to meet such challenges head on, in ways aligned to our SAFE culture, and all while taking the time to maintain the wellbeing of our staff to the best of our ability in the circumstances. These achievements are a credit to our people and their commitment to our business.

While the loss of life has been tragic, the COVID-19 pandemic now presents an opportunity to the world.

The pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of an ongoing drive toward increased flexibility in working practices and improvements to work-life balance, that by extension will enable businesses like Apollo to embrace change and operate in more sustainable, greener ways to the benefit of the wider society.