CEO Roundup: The Reality of Furlough and Forward Thinking
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home Interim CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, shares her thoughts on another week at the Home and gives an insight into life at the Fyffe-Jardine household during the current crisis.
Monday 30th March
The reality of furlough has set into today for all of us. Waking up to a quiet in the organisation I will struggle to become accustomed to. I love the creative, busy hubbub of our organisation-all of us busy worker ants doing our bit for the dogs and cats. My heart goes out to those staff waking up this morning feeling a bit lost or unsure of what their week brings without the structure of work while my thoughts turn to the front-line team still pulling on the welly boots and booting up the phones. The green uniform still coming out of the laundry basket ready for another day of work-because it never stops. Our community continue to call us, and our dogs and cats still want their breakfast on time. While the world slows down for some of us it still spins for so many in the organisation.
Tuesday 31st March
I don’t usually work on a Tuesday; I have that day with my daughter. We would normally go out to meet friends, go swimming, soft play or trampolining. I would fill my day up with everyday normal activities and things I took for granted that I could do with her. You’ll notice how many times I’ve written the word normal-well there is no normal anymore. We have a new normal. But today I have decided to have that time with her, to dedicate my attention and focus on her as my grounding in this crisis. She’s too young to understand why her mummy is pacing the floor or trying to achieve the most motivational pitch to her voice on phone calls. Today I decide to do all the fun things I can to look after her and by default me. We have cuddles on the sofa, and we do arts and crafts. We then head out for a walk to some abandoned playing fields to play with her prized purple football. To my pleasant surprise my daughter has a nifty pair of feet and as she chant’s my mummy is the best across a football field after I score an imaginary goal, I know that today has been normal. As normal as can be under the circumstances.
Wednesday 1st April
Suddenly we’re in a new month and it all feels a bit strange again thinking of what this month would have brought. So far, we’ve had a number of new dogs and cats brought to our doors, I’m fully expecting this to continue long into this crisis and beyond. It’s our first workplace video call with the adjusted team and its great to see people’s smiling faces I haven’t seen for weeks. It’s so great to be connected with everyone and hear their updates on how much work they are producing to either get our message of support out the to the public, applying for much needed funds or how we’re supporting the team both working and on furlough. Its uplifting and so great to connect. I’m onto my next phone call and my daughter decides that this is the call she must be on. Thankfully my colleague enjoys two-year-old toddler chatter and plays along talking to Maisy mousey who also had to join in the important future organisational planning. How the challenges of remote working and isolating while supporting a front line have honed my abilities to multi talk even further!
Thursday 2nd April
Our weekly senior management team meetings have now moved to video call and when we can we have our own dogs and cats join us. I’m really missing the social interaction of sitting in a meeting room with my team and chatting with them in person. Technology is amazing but it just doesn’t give you that same feel. We have serious updates to talk through-mainly about what funding we’ve been able to apply for so far and what we need to do next in terms of saving money or finding new ways of gaining support. The numbers of dogs and cats we’re paying for and will be paying for isn’t going to change and other than our staffing this is our biggest costs. From the food, disinfectant and veterinary treatment they need we need to stabilize the money as soon as we can as our reserves would only last months not years if we don’t turn it around. I’m confident with the public’s support we’ll make it. It doesn’t stop the fact that hard decisions lie ahead but as a team we’ll get through this.
Friday 3rd April
Reaching the end of this week feels like the blink of an eye. My time has been spent juggling phone calls and doing emails in the darkness of my kitchen early in the morning while my daughter and my cats still sleep. I would usually have an operational catch up on a Friday with the kennel manager Wendy and the assistant kennel manager Jess and so we’re doing that over the phone. My daughter continues to be the background soundtrack to my phone calls-I have very considerate and kind colleagues who put up with the conversations about the colours of her pencils while we talk about the dogs and cats arriving to us and what their needs are. We talk about how the animal care team are holding up and I’m relieved to hear as ever they are making the best of it all and getting on with the work of caring for our animals. I’m really keen to get in to see them and how they and the dogs and cats are. I’m shortly going to be announcing who the winner is for our virtual game of trivial pursuit launched this week to keep people’s minds thinking about something else that isn’t COVID-19. Stay tuned to find out what the new normal brings for us, our dogs and cats next week.