Lottie has visited the office of Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe (“HICSE”) in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire on several occasions, but what a different experience she had this year!
The last occasion Lottie came to spend time with us was 12 months ago when, amongst other things, she visited our local railway station to admire the architecture, designed by the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel. HICSE is delighted to have this small but stylish station on our doorstep, because of course we’re part of the railway industry! At that time, HICSE was based in an old building near the centre of Bradford-on-Avon, but since then we’ve relocated to a beautiful, new, purpose built office on the outskirts of the town. However, when Lottie arrived there, she found it was empty, in total darkness, and with the doors firmly shut because of the Covid lockdown! At first Lottie worried about what she was going to do, but happily she was able to join one of the female HICSE engineers, who was working from her home in Bath during the lockdown.
The first thing Lottie noticed was that working from home was very different from working in the office – there were no face-to-face conversations, no opportunities to catch up with friends and colleagues over a coffee, and all communication had to be via phone calls, instant messaging or video calls. Stranger still, Lottie and her new friend had to stay indoors all day, and were only allowed out for one hour, once a day. Lottie noticed that now her new friend was working from home, she was starting to look a bit different – gone was the make-up, gone was any attempt to tame her hair, and her usual office clothes had been replaced with something a little (ahem!) more casual. Her home was different too with the living room dominated by 2 large screens borrowed from the office, which were essential for her work.
Next came another significant change – Lottie’s new friend stopped working altogether! When Lottie asked why her friend’s laptop was switched off all day, why she had stopped making so many phone calls, and why she was watching so much TV, her friend explained that she had been furloughed as the virus had stopped some of the projects happening. Being furloughed meant that she was not allowed to do any work at all until the company authorized it.
Just as Lottie’s visit came to an end, her friend was allowed to return to work, but only part time, and she had to continue working from home. Lottie agreed that it had been a very strange visit, but her new friend explained that it showed how adaptable the company and its staff could be in these exceptional times.
Lottie’s friends at HICSE had been looking forward to showing her around their fantastic new office, and so were all very disappointed when that wasn’t possible. We’re hoping that when Lottie comes to visit again next year, she’ll be able see inside our new office, and meet colleagues who have joined the company since she last paid us a visit.
Keep an eye on our social media pages this week to see how Lottie got on as she shares her photos.