It has been over a year since the first UK lockdown where we all had to drastically change
our usual working patterns. As a business owner, naturally I was worried about how our
team would cope with the new, remote, ways of working due to lockdown. Luckily, people
who apply for jobs with startup, fintech businesses tend to be those who like a fast paced,
busy, work environment and as such, I was confident that productivity levels would remain
high. My concerns however, surrounded our employees wellbeing and how Gregor (Gregor
Mowat, my Co-Founder and Co-CEO) and I could support the team now more than ever.
Some of the changes we put in place were small but highly effective such as reducing the
standard meeting times from 30 to 20 minutes as we saw a greater commitment to meetings
and our workforce told us they wanted to be smarter with their time commitments. But some
changes were much bigger, such as leaving our physical office spaces in London,Bristol and
New York. We tried to do everything possible to avoid disrupting the day to day running of
Loqbox as we still had a business to grow, but we needed to act fast to put measures in
place to support our team.
The global pandemic put most businesses into crisis mode. Those with robust business
continuity plans and a flexible working culture embedded into the company are the ones who
adapted with ease. Thankfully we were one of the latter, we adapted quickly and provided
our team with the tools they needed to be able to make the best of the situation we all found
ourselves in. We gave every member of our team a budget to allow them to ‘build’ a home
office working space. We utilise Slack and Google Meets more than ever before which has
helped our team to bond and work together efficiently whilst maintaining the rapport you
would expect in a physical office. We have a daily stand up every morning allowing the core
teams to share their priorities for the day ahead and to discuss key changes and we end
each week with a Friday ‘cheers’ - a virtual beer where work chat is left behind.
On reflection given everything that has happened in the last 12 months, I am proud to be
able to say that we have not had any negative disruption to our business or our customers.
In fact, Loqbox has grown, in many ways - over the past year our headcount increased by
more than 200%. Thus, lockdown oddly provided us with an opportunity to diversify our
talent pool and allowed us the access and flexibility to employ people from across the United
Kingdom. It’s strange to think that we haven’t physically met most of our new recruits yet! On
top of this, we became a global business in late 2020 when we launched Loqbox out of
Pilot in the United States.
The main thing I have taken away from this situation is that trust and good, consistent
communication is vital. For me personally, the new world of remote working has reduced my
travel time significantly. Before lockdown, a usual week for me consisted of travelling
between London, Bristol and Somerset (home) on a daily basis and regular travel to the U.S.
It still isn’t clear what the new normal will look like going forward, but what we have learnt is
that we don’t need the traditional office with strict working hours. Perhaps in the future we
will return to some kind of office / home hybrid environment, allowing for both those who
prefer an office work space and also those who have beneficially adapted to working from
home. Both Gregor and I are incredibly proud of our team and how they have dealt with
these massive changes. We have learnt so much about ourselves, our business and the capabilities
of our team.