Samantha Creme

Case Team Leader, Bain & Company

What was a typical work day like before the corona crisis?
I work in management and strategy consulting, so the days themselves were quite varied depending on the type of project I was working on. I would usually spend half my week working from the Bain offices and the other half of the week working from client sites. On days when I worked from Bain offices, I was fortunate to have a 15-minute walk along the Thames into work each morning. Throughout the day, I would be in and out of team rooms, often using whiteboards to problem solve with my manager and peers.

When the outbreak started, what was your initial reaction?
Initially, I was somewhat in denial that life in the UK would actually change. Slowly though, it started to set in once lockdown started for my friends and family back in Canada. They were a couple weeks ahead of the UK in terms of introducing regulations, so I heard first-hand about the trials and tribulations of lockdown before it actually started in the UK.

What impact did this have on your day job and how did you adapt?
The biggest change about the day job itself was not being able to brainstorm and bounce ideas off my team members in person. I get a lot of energy from collaborating with others, so it took some time to get used to doing that over Zoom.

I adapted by moving back to Canada after week one of lockdown in the UK, and have since been working remotely from my parent’s home in Montreal. I made the decision to leave London (my home for over 5 years) since I was living alone in a small central flat, with limited access to outdoor space. Luckily, my team was very supportive of the move!

What are the big challenges you have faced / are facing as the pandemic continues? Staying on UK time zone while in Canada means 3 am wake-ups and 7 pm bedtimes – which is quite a challenge (especially on weekends)! Keeping team morale high is always top of mind for me, which means feeling quite “Zoomed out” by the end of the day. On a more personal note, I really miss spending non-virtual time with friends.

How have you kept going through the tough times?
Hour-long walks every evening really help clear my mind after a day of work. I use the time to reflect and unwind, and also to catch up with friends and family. Since the outbreak, I’ve been speaking to my grandparents a lot more regularly, so am hearing some great and nostalgic stories about the ‘good old days’!

What acts of kindness have you seen or shown that have made you smile recently?
There have been so many! Impromptu “thinking of you” messages, sending / receiving flowers, and surprise birthday celebrations with friends – to name just a few.

What has this crisis taught you – both professionally and on a personal level?
That the impact that any one person can have is significant – our “emotional wakes” are much larger than we think, and that small acts of kindness may seem insignificant to some but can actually be life changing for others.

Also, that life is too short not to make time for the things that really matter. Reflecting on previous “crises” at work, I now have a newfound appreciation and perspective for what that word really means, after having witnessed LEYF’s management team entirely change their business model over the course of one weekend.

How are you trying to stay happy and healthy?
Keeping connected to friends and family across the world, and lots more home-cooked meals. I have also gotten back into a running routine on weekends, and am slowly but surely building back the endurance I used to have.