The Impacts of Lockdown

Women Who, Worcestershire met up at Ravenmeadow Golf Club as usual on Friday 14th February 2020. We didn’t know it would be our last face to face networking event for well over a year.

March 2020 saw the UK move into lockdown as a result of the COVID19 pandemic, and we moved our events online thanks to Zoom. At that point we thought it would just be a few weeks and then things would get back to normal. We had no idea what was to come!
One of the first things we did as a group was make a video, filled with support and positivity for our local community.

You can watch the video on our YouTube channel here

We ran online meetings every two weeks for the first few months; these sessions were less about networking than our regular meetings and were intended to be a place where we could get together and connect with people outside our households. We even joined in the Thursday evening clapping for the NHS during our meetings! For us it was a way to support one another and help us all feel less alone.
Now that we’ve reached the point where almost all restrictions have ended, we’ve been reflecting on the past year or so, the impact it’s had and how people are feeling about the months ahead.

We surveyed our members to find out how the pandemic has impacted them and their business:

 

%

of survey responders said they’d seen a reduction in turnover as a result of COVID.

%

had been able to move their business online

“All of my appointments and quotes can be done remotely.”

“I offered some of my services via Zoom before COVID happened, so it was a fairly easy transition for me. It’s not quite the same as in person though!”

“My business just doesn’t work online. It’s face to face or nothing, so lockdown has closed us down.”

Only 40% were able to access financial support from the government support schemes

Some members had only recently launched their businesses, so didn’t have the necessary tax returns to be able to make a claim. Others are company directors who missed out on support as they didn’t meet the self employed criteria.

%

had to juggle their business and home schooling for much of the year

“I know my Mental Health has been impacted through the past 18 months. Homeschooling, running a biz, lack of human connection (too much human connection – feeling ‘touched out’ with the kids).”

“I have been challenged on all different levels and buttons were pushed I didn’t even know I had. Running 2 businesses, home schooling….has definitely left its mark.”

%

told us their mental health had suffered because of the pandemic impacts

“I definitely think the pandemic has had an impact on my mental health. Mainly around my health anxiety but I’ve also hugely missed social connection and found the pressures of home schooling and juggling work very tricky. There have been many silver linings too. I’ve learnt to slow down, I definitely appreciate the smaller things in life now and the extra time we’ve spent together as a family has been very special.”

%

felt their mental health fluctuated throughout the multiple lockdowns and as things opened up

“I think even for the most emotionally resilient, our strategies for good mental health have been interrupted; social networks, physical touch, passing the new baby around, sharing bereavement collectively, exercising. Whilst humans are very adaptable and have adjusted (we’ll start to see those changes as we open up more) it’s likely that this level of disconnect from others will have some negative impact on any human because of our nature.”

%

said their mental health was worse now than pre-COVID

%

were looking forward to the relaxation of restrictions that came in on the 19th July

i’m glad the restrictions are reducing, the negative impact on other risks can now be addressed.”

Although lots of members said they would be continuing with mask wearing and/or social distancing

“I’m sticking to wearing masks and trying to keep distance from those not in my household.”

“Well considering cases are incredibly high and rising… I’m carrying on as cautiously as before.”

“I’m sticking to social distancing at least during the summer. Will see how things are in September for the new term but I can’t imagine it’ll be any different.”

“Not much change for me. I still have no desire to get close to strangers, but it’s nice to be able to have a cuppa with my lovely customers again. Hoping we will have a few more events to meet new customers before the end of the year.”

“In truth, for us, we are continuing as is for a while longer yet. The masks remain indoors, we keep our distance outdoors too, the hands are sanitised, surfaces and door handles wiped etc”

“With my classes I am asking people to still wear masks for the time being as we are inside in fairly close proximity – am hoping people respect this but obviously I can’t insist anymore which worries me. The number of people getting pinged is crazy – I really can’t risk my business being closed while I isolate or worse, get Covid! I will continue to wear face mask in shops etc and for my classes, as before.”

One member raised a really important point – everyone’s right to choose:

“I think that everyone has the right to choose, BUT that everyone should also be considerate of others and their beliefs and needs.”

Nearly everyone is looking forward to the restart of in person networking events in the autumn

It’s been an incredibly challenging year for everyone, and the impacts on our members mental health and financial security cannot be underestimated. Some of our members have had COVID19 themselves, and some have lost friends and family members to it.

The easing of restrictions has come as a relief to many, but also causes concern too. We’re hoping to restart our face to face networking events after the summer and we can’t wait to see everyone in person again. We’re keeping everything crossed that we have turned the corner and will see a gradual return to a version of normal that leaves everyone happy, healthy and safe.

We look forward to seeing everyone in person once again.

Stay safe,

Carrie & Lisa

Networking face to face and online for female business owners in Worcestershire.

Surround yourself with a positive, supportive and inspiring network.

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07840 258 314 womenwhoworcestershire@gmail.com

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