Reflections from Avanade employees with partners on the front line of COVID-19

  • Posted on August 2, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes
Reflections from Avanade employees with partners on the front line of COVID-19

Since COVID-19 sent countries into lockdown during the spring, some Avanade employees have had to navigate a new reality with partners on the front line every day. A few shared stories of how much their partners have given during this time, and how they navigate challenges together.

Lee Ayling, Executive, Advisory Services

My fiancé, Luis, is a nurse – now working in ITU at University College Hospital in central London. At the beginning of lockdown, as this situation started to evolve, we had a very bizarre conversation about how our risk profile had changed. Based on what we were seeing happen in other parts of the world, we talked about how we would support each other if one of us got ill, or worse. I suspect this was a conversation that many frontline workers had to have with their families. Luckily, we don’t have any children or elderly relatives in our household.

Over the first few weeks of lockdown, there were several times when one of us felt as we may be coming down with something. The odd aches, sore throat or feeling like something was wrong. We found that talking about our fears with each other always relieved the anxiety. Over time we have both become a bit more comfortable in accepting our relative powerlessness over the situation and got on with living in the moment. We have also found that limiting news intake to once a day and setting time aside to call friends and family – even when we don’t feel like it – seems to cheer us up and make us feel connected.

What amazes me is the drive and passion that healthcare workers have for caring for others, sometimes sacrificing their own safety. They seem to have a down-to-earth pragmatism and ability to pause their feelings and emotions when they are on the job. Luis often comes back home from hospital tired, with marks around his face from the PPE he needs to wear, and, sometimes he is sad – I try my best to be there for him. My lockdown highlight was seeing the tears of gratitude on Luis’ face when everyone in our street was clapping for the NHS and care workers – these acts of kindness and solidarity really, really make a difference.

Rebecca Holloway, Senior Analyst, Change Enablement

Recently, I was reminded how real the “front line” can sometimes be. A colleague of my partner tragically died in an accident whilst on duty. Although it’s long been my greatest fear (having grown up in a policing family), I cannot imagine what these days are like for the officer’s family, I can only send them all my love.

This made me miss my partner, who is a police officer, even more than usual. Since COVID-19, we have been isolating separately, as he and his parents are front line workers and my mum needed me with her.

I am frequently reminded by those around me, that the world can sometimes be a scary place and those on whom we depend most do not often get the recognition they deserve. My partner goes above and beyond in his service. His commitment and ambition are things I find remarkable, especially in someone only a few years in. He’s a “lifer” – I can see it in his eyes and hear it in every story he tells, and I feel so proud of all he is able to give.

Coronavirus has undoubtedly changed things for our frontline workers, the threat is now invisible but there’s still a job to be done. There’s a job for the rest of us as well: the role of supporter, advocate and friend. We can all contribute in a modest but meaningful way, by showing love and compassion to those who don’t have the luxury to work from home.

The day lockdown was announced, I must admit, I felt a little broken and overwhelmed, perhaps even defiant. I don’t remember ever having such a strong reaction to watching a government briefing. However, rules are rules, and for me, lockdown has become more normal with every day. My Avanade team have certainly been my rock by keeping me engaged and supporting me throughout. My client team and work have also served as a welcome distraction from the current reality… but for many, days are difficult, and lives are lonely.

I really wanted to dedicate this feature to those on the front line, living with the same level of anxiety and as upset as the rest of us, but who continue to suit up and serve our communities in what really is, the most heroic way possible. We’ll be with our loved ones again soon, and when that time comes, imagine just how grateful we will all feel. And how fortune we are to have something and someone worth missing.

Uros Djordjevic, Group Manager, CRM

My lovely wife, Bojana Djordjevic, is Director of Operations in Hermitage Medical Clinic in Dublin, which is one of the biggest private hospitals in Ireland. Her job role and responsibilities increased significantly a couple of weeks prior to the COVID-19 Patient Zero in Ireland when she got a task to reorganize and restructure the hospital premises to allow the hospital to safely admit potential COVID-19 patients and to fully protect everyone else.

The task itself would not have been too difficult if at the same time she has not been assigned another, more important, responsibility to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all medical and non-medical staff per government’s guidelines.

Bojana’s stories of how she managed to order and get hold of enough PPE while negotiating the “right” quality, prices and quantities are fantastic. She still has more responsibilities and asks to help her hospital’s business running since Irish government and Health Service Executive have nationalized all private hospitals. This has proven very challenging for all private hospitals to continue growing their businesses while not being able to admit private patients but only the ones forwarded by the public hospitals.

With everything she has taken on in the past few months, I want to give a standing applause to my wife and all healthcare workers. With them, we all should feel confident that COVID-19 will not win.

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