AND ALONG CAME COVID …

By Amelia Cimino,
Project Manager with
The Better Packaging Co.

Biscuit was just settling in to our new offices nicely too …

When Coronavirus hit headlines worldwide, I was only weeks into my new role with the Better Packaging Co. Certainly still in the “first impressions” phase – turning up to work in my “number ones”-  red lips and heels. Admittedly, given time, these were highly likely to be replaced with more practical sneakers and an au natural complexion, but I never expected that within the first months of my job I’d be attending our morning stand-ups doing less standing up and more sitting up (in bed)!  

2020 started off with a bang for the Better Packaging Co. I was one of four new hires and just months into the new year we moved out of our ‘start up’ digs which had increasingly become super-cramped. We loved our new space in a buzzing part of the city, close to public transport, flooded with natural light and worthy of our growing team and business. Little did we know that within weeks we’d have packed up our desks, emptied the compost bin and elbow-waved goodbye, uncertain when we would be together again.

Boy did our comPOSTubble burst! We had been watching Covid-19 slowly creep its way around the world. We sell our packaging globally, and manufacture in Asia, so hints of the ensuing chaos started to appear early. I don’t think any of us expected what was to come though. Nor were we mentally prepared for the strain and anxiety it has caused us in all aspects of our work and personal lives. 

In terms of our day to day operations we consider ourselves extremely lucky. Our business was already well set up for the team to work remotely (and well-practiced given our old offices were literally too small for the whole team to be there at once!). So when the word came that if you could work from home you should, we did.

Found this photo of the ‘good old days’ when mornings started with a coffee and an ‘hour of power’ at a cafe …

There’s nothing like adversity to bring people together and, somewhat ironically, Covid-19 has made our team closer than I think we would ever have been otherwise, As a relatively new team we barely knew each other when this unfolded. But now we’ve been inside each other’s homes (bedrooms even!), met partners and kids, and shared the highs and lows of lockdown together – all virtually of course. Some of our team are having to stay away from their families and some are having way more time with theirs than would ordinarily be considered safe for their sanity! Some are in lockdown with brand new flatmates, and some are in small apartments in foreign countries… Yet, we have all been at times fearful, unmotivated, sad and increasingly fed-up. Being cooped up day in day out doesn’t necessarily bring the best out in everyone (anyone?) but in the end we are all trying to make things work under the circumstances.

We have been able to use this time to pause, take a moment as a team and focus on building a more robust company culture. We didn’t for instance realise how disconnected our overseas team members felt from the rest of us until we discovered the joys of Zoom! This has given us an opportunity to step back and look for ways to optimise our business so we can come out of this Better as a company and team (more on that to come).

But most of all, we are exceptionally grateful to all the essential businesses and workers both here and around the world who have kept us all safe, fed and sane. And whilst I do enjoy being able to have a cheeky glass of wine at lunch in my track pants, I am really looking forward to returning to business as usual, wearing lippy again and finally getting a ‘real’ coffee (in a Keep Cup of course!).

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