Next in our series of what Gallowglass Event Crew were doing (or trying to do) during the year of lockdowns, May 2020 is discussed.
Talk of lockdown measures being eased
The heat wave sees social distancing measures being flouted as people head to the coast.
Shifts continued to evaporate, dropping to just 1.4% of our normal trading.
View from the top
Paul Grecian – Chairman of the Gallowglass Group
I thank God that I am involved in the Sybil scenario rather than the “furlough fandango” because my colleagues are struggling to come to terms with a situation so fluid it is like riding the rapids on the Colorado River. However, HMRC seemed no better prepared, nor the Cabinet for that matter. The guidelines and the rules seem to change by the day! And if you look out of the window, trading is collapsing. May sees us operating at 1% of normal levels but it looks like our Sybil is going to come through far quicker than it was being reported in the newspapers. But what about everybody else out there in our industry. There are people with no work and no support to lean on. I am hearing stories of the relief our crew felt when they learned that they were being furloughed. That satisfaction lasts 24 hours and then you start to hear the stories of industry mates who are between a rock and a hard place.
On the front line
Stephen Bridgewater – Senior Crew Chief – Wales and South West
With the details regarding furlough settling down there is a sense of relief and appreciation from my guys and myself that we are in actual fact some of the lucky ones who have managed to retain our jobs and that we will be eligible for furlough payments. It is still sour though as we know that many are not so lucky, including some within the company who have had to change positions in order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape.
Scott Young – Senior Crew Chief – Scotland
No work, no socialising. So, DIY it is. Flat is looking good!
Dave Gregory – Senior Crew Chief – London
For me, May was a real down time, hit and miss with jobs booked then a call saying they were cancelled but I knew I was still getting Furlough pay from Gallowglass so there was a bit of relief. Then an email comes in from Gallowglass saying they were going for a contract with the local council so I put my name down but a few days later got the news it had been pulled, just another thing to be down on. But I still had little bits of decorating around the flat and my family’s homes to keep me busy.
Marwan Zeghbib – Crew Chief – London
Made the most of this month to rest and get rid of all the physical pain accumulated in the course of a month’s work.
What happened in BD
Antony Cook – Head of Business Development
7 weeks in and starting to go a little stir crazy. I didn’t think working from home would be such a hardship, did anyone? Under normal circumstances I don’t think it would be, roll out bed, put the coffee machine on, jump in the shower, throw on a t-shirt & shorts and be sitting at the laptop all in the space of 30 mins. But then the problem is apparent. You have no clients to call, no jobs to chase, no issues to deal with, no tenders to put together (ok, that one not missed so much), no new business to seek out, etc., no exercising of the ‘grey matter’ proved quite problematic and I had to find something to do. I needed to feel as though I was actually a valuable part of society, however small my contribution might be.
What happened in HR
Chris Parry-Jones – Director of Human Resources
Becoming apparent that this is going to be going on for longer than we originally thought. Phoning friends in the business to see how they are coping. Everyone is stoic but worried. Events, shows and exhibitions are being cancelled into the future. H & S in Dubai are all working from home as well and some of their lockdown rules have been very harsh. We are all trying to be positive but it’s not always easy. Time to move from our office since 2008 in Acton. At least the sun has been shining and the puppy is well exercised, and we had a socially distanced VE day celebration in the street.
What happened in IT
Darren Thorley – Head of IT
Furlough – HMRC continued tweaking the rules, causing lots of stress to those of us tasked with managing the payrolls.
I continued working with the Microsoft FastTrack team. They helped me understand and plan what we needed to keep costs as low as possible while still delivering the day to day operational requirements (even though the volume of business was dire).