Lockdown learnings

The Cambridge Network team enjoys an online drinks party during lockdown

John Gourd, CEO, Cambridge Network

Reflections on a tumultuous year

It’s just under a year ago that our son’s ‘continuous and new’ cough saw us start a period of self-isolation in the Gourd household.

The rest of the Cambridge Network team started to work from home the following day and hasn’t returned to the office since – except to collect the post.

I started writing a diary that day, 18th March 2020, and I thought that the impending first anniversary would be a good chance to look back and assess what we know now, compared to what we knew then.

I think it’s vitally important that we all work together to get through this period and come out the other side in as good a shape as we can.

It’s not always been easy, and we’ve all had our personal challenges, but I can’t put into words how impressed I am with our team’s resolve, respect, and genuine level of care for each other. While we are not totally out of the woods yet, we’ve successfully adapted the ways we work, the ways we connect with each other (see the image above of a lockdown online drinks party!), the ways we communicate with our members, the ways in which we help them to connect and the ways we (and our partners) deliver content – and we will emerge from the pandemic challenge stronger than we went into it.

The Network is in a fantastic position to be the conduit for the wonderful ideas being generated by our membership and beyond.

We set out on Day 1 to be part of the solution and, with so many other organisations and individuals in the area, we have tried to aid and assist members and non-members alike – whether that was advice on Crisis Communications, how to manage a workforce at home, to safeguard their wellbeing, or secure a job remotely. We helped companies collaborate to address some of the challenges the pandemic threw at us and watched in awe at the progress they made.

Will this period change the face of office-based working forever?

Despite what the boss of Goldman Sachs might think, I think the success that companies have seen with remote working: the maintenance of high levels of productivity and the improvements to home/work life balance, will ensure that we will see, at least, a hybrid return to the office – weeks split between the office and working from home, the former allowing for those all so important interactions that humans need, giving a break from Zoom.

Is it really possible that our pet cat sleeps for 22 hours a day?

Well, at least in one respect, nothing’s changed.

John's sleeping cat


Cambridge Network is a membership organisation based in the vibrant high technology cluster of Cambridge, UK. We bring people together - from business and academia - to meet each other and share ideas, encouraging collaboration and partnership for shared success.

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