Chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber has provided the following update to all Albion staff, following yesterday's announcement that the UK is now in lockdown, and has kindly agreed to it being shared with our supporters.
Over the weekend, and in an attempt to lift spirits, I heard one commentator on the radio say: “With the clocks going forward later this week, let’s hope it’s for four months”. Well, amidst the current gloom, it at least made me smile!
On the one hand, he’s right, of course. We want this thing to be over, and fast. But, on the other, one small blessing from this crisis is that many of us will have more time on our hands.
And, with the Prime Minister’s statement last night confirming an effective lock down for the majority of people in our country, many of us will have more time than we’ve probably ever had in our adult lives.
For busy people, time is usually our biggest enemy. Trying to fit in our work, family, kids, hobbies and leisure pursuits amongst normal ups and down of everyday life can be a real challenge, even at the best of times.
Now, all of a sudden, many of us will have time on our hands but our options to use it have been massively curtailed. But it’s still an opportunity we shouldn’t miss.
From a work point of view, we must use the time to think more strategically and plan ahead, to look for self-development and improvement to our work practices, to learn a new skill, or to tackle those irritating backlogs we all have.
At home, it’s definitely a good time to re-connect with family and friends, albeit it will now be remotely in many cases using our different technologies. And it’s a time to catch up on the stuff we keep putting off! (I’ve got loads!).
We can also use the time to share contacts in our personal networks - people we know that can help others, particularly those on the frontline, like NHS, food shop and delivery workers, who now have far less time than usual.
For so long, too long, the people doing these jobs have been unsung. We all benefit from what they do every day - now more than ever before - but we’ve rarely taken enough time to recognise or thank them properly. Now is the time we really must do both.
It’s also a time to reflect, review and re-energise. If we can keep well, I’m very sure we can come out of this period better, stronger, wiser and more prepared for whatever lies ahead - both as a club and individually.
All round then, it’s definitely the strangest of times, and sadly we’re probably going to face even more challenges yet. But for the sake of our mental health, as well as physical well-being, let’s look for every opportunity to be, and stay, positive.
Our club is all about aiming high, exceeding expectations, and treating people well. We know how to do this. And we’re good at it. So, let’s keep doing it throughout this period, however tough it may get.
Let’s also remember we have a strong club with a totally engaged and committed owner, experienced directors, a talented executive team, and hardworking staff. We’re in a good place at a bad time.
In crises, communities look for calm leadership and signs of hope. We can use our club’s influence to support both neighbours and strangers where we can, and we can use kindness to inspire.
The irony of our club’s mantra being #together at a when we’ve been advised to keep apart certainly isn’t lost on me. But we should think harder about what our mantra really means, and as on previous occasions when our community has needed our support, we can step up even further.
I fully appreciate that so many uncertainties remain, and there may be rougher seas ahead, but you can be sure we will keep doing all we can to keep our ship steady and to keep you fully informed. You, your family, and all of our people, and their families, remain our priority.
We have sent the majority of our core staff a £50 Amazon voucher, but not including our various department heads or senior management staff, with the message to use it to boost their family’s morale with something practical for their home: some food or drink; some games for the kids; some extra communications technology; or, perhaps, if they’re lucky, a toilet roll!
Do please keep following the Government’s and NHS England’s latest advice. Keep well!