Big Old House in Lockdown

Day 100: Locked-in with Business Desk

Well, here we are, 100 days since lock down. Whatever happened to April, May and June?

While there are positive signs of some businesses emerging and resuming some kind of ‘business as unusual’ and the Prime Minister announcing “Build, build, build” as the mantra to get the economy back on track, there are those less fortunate who have had their industries decimated by this invisible threat, through no fault of their own.

Forever taking the pulse of regional businesses, has been catching up with owner managers,  entrepreneurs and senior managers around the UK to get the lowdown on life in lockdown.  During a short break from crisis comms, social media management and copywriting, Rachael van Oudheusden from Big Old House offered her take on on lockdown life.

Here’s a snippet from the interview…

How has the lockdown and working from home been for you so far?

It’s been a bit of a backwards step to be honest in terms of flexible working. I worked remotely from home for several years when I set up Big Old House and realised that I quite like being around people. That’s why I joined the coworking and event space, Works Social, in Nottingham’s Lace Market to get away from my house! Looking forward to getting back with my desk buddies as soon as possible.


What has been the best thing about staying in?

Cooking (and eating!). It’s been really great to spend time making interesting food from some of my favourite places around the world. I’ve started making wiser choices to actively avoid waste – making sure to use what’s already in the cupboards, rather than always popping out for extra things. I now completely ignore best before dates if food still seems edible. If it doesn’t have green fuzz on or smells of booze when it shouldn’t, it’s fine, right?!


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Apart from spending April in Colombia, people mainly – family, friends, colleagues and clients. I miss seeing people face to face and miss the productivity of going into a dedicated work environment, as this provides boundaries between work life and home life. The community element is a big part of Works Social too. I’m finding it tough not having the camaraderie of my co-workers to chat with about the crazy times we are all facing and to help spark creative ideas.


What previously essential thing have you realised is not actually essential?

Nothing really. In fact, I’ve realised the opposite. Things that I didn’t think were essential are actually so much more important than I gave them credit for in maintaining positive physical and mental well-being. Social interaction, hugs, travel and freedom of choice are all essential to me. It’s been values, or behaviours, rather than stuff mostly though, such as caring, compassion, kindness and generosity that are truly essential.


What is the first thing you will do when isolation ends?

As a card carrying CAMRA member, I’m going to dust off my Nottingham City Transport bus pass (who’ve been spectacular in keeping essential services running for key workers, thank you) and jump on a bus into town to support as many local independent pubs as I can get round during opening hours. I would wholeheartedly encourage everyone to join in me in supporting their local pubs too. Give me a shout if you fancy a pint!


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Meanwhile, the resilience, innovation and adaptability shown by UK businesses has been incredible. We hope that our friends in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors can hold on and potentially come back stronger than before. The door to Big Old House is always open if we can support you in any way with that. Stay safe out there folks.