in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #139 — The T that you don’t want to see

My recent journeys to the office came to a juddering halt this week when my youngest son had a positive COVID-19 lateral flow test result. We quickly booked a PCR appointment for that morning and ended up with a positive result the next day. His symptoms weren’t too bad, but enough to justify some time on the sofa with a duvet. He’s stuck in the house until Wednesday and I can’t go back to the office until then.

The shame about it is that he was offered a vaccine through school a few weeks ago, but something went wrong which meant that he and a lot of other children in his year didn’t receive it. I’ve heard that it was due to the massive (unanticipated?) demand and/or how long the process took, but nobody has told us directly.

I’ve also spoken to my grandmother this weekend; she told me she’s yet to be offered a flu jab or COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, despite being in her 90s. With the numbers of cases, people in hospital and deaths all increasing here in the UK, it doesn’t bode well.

The rest of the family all thankfully tested negative on both our lateral flow and postal PCR tests. I didn’t feel 100% for a couple of days this week, with a general malaise, but now I’m back in the wild again it could have been anything. I am very grateful for the vaccines.

Not going into the office did mean that my week was more productive, with almost a full day on Wednesday put aside to work on writing a draft paper to be taken to one of our governance committees. Since publishing a post a couple of weeks ago about the pros and cons of returning to the office, I’ve had some conversations which have got me rethinking my assumptions. I need to put some time aside to write these thoughts up.

This was a week in which I:

  • Welcomed a new nephew to the family. It’s been a while since there was a new addition. His photos are super-cute, and we’re all looking forward to meeting him.
  • Put together the first draft of a slide deck to be taken to our firm’s Governance Committee, on the topic of mandatory Compliance recording. There’s a lot to unpack, and I learned so much through the process of putting it together. It got me wondering about how the Engineering/IT team in an organisation has to be made up of generalists who collectively know enough about all of the other parts of the firm in order to support and partner with them.
  • Reviewed and made some edits on our regular report for our company board.
  • Was contacted by the head of one of our departments to look at a SaaS application that they want to use for our year-end town hall meeting.
  • Had a Friday evening all with one of our country CEOs and caught up with all of the recent personnel and structural changes there. Heard that he has been having a poor experience with his home Wi-Fi and dropped him a note with some suggestions for upgrading to a mesh system.
  • Unusually, only had one meeting this week on the topic of our big group programme. Caught up on how data take-on is being implemented and what the rollout approach is.
  • Got set up with an external telephone number in Teams as part of a pilot. I’ve used it to make a few calls and so far it has been superb on both the desktop and mobile.
  • Raised an issue relating to our Teams meeting rooms and how long it takes for the join button in each room to become ‘active’ once someone schedules a meeting there.
  • Joined the second CliftonStrengths Team Effectiveness workshop for our Engineering team. I felt as though I got a bit more out of this one.
  • Attended one of the most incredible webinars that I have ever been to, on the topic of Creating a trans-inclusive culture hosted by BIE Executive in association with Fighting With Pride. I hadn’t expected to take so many notes! The stories shared really opened my eyes to experiences of the world that are so very different to my own, and what things I need to think about doing to promote inclusivity.
  • Took a call from someone surveying clients of my financial advisor, and gave some honest feedback.
  • Enjoyed a lovely ‘random coffee’ with a member of our team whom I work with every day but have yet to meet in real life.
  • Spent a couple of hours on Saturday putting together a ‘lightning talk’ on typography tidbits, to be delivered next week. I am really looking forward to delivering this.
  • Signed off on my tax returns and paid the accountant.
  • Ordered a replacement battery for my four-year old MacBook Pro. I had advice that I may want to think about getting a new laptop instead, but I’m not willing to splash out right now. The service from Apple costs £204. For that money, they sent a UPS box sent to my home for me to package up my computer and send it off to the Czech Republic to get its new battery and be sent back to me again. Being both a Mac and Windows user I much prefer using the latter; if it wasn’t for the integration with my mobile devices I might think about switching next time I upgrade.
  • Joined the Herts for Learning Chairs’ Strategic Information Briefing. The agenda is always so packed that the two hours fly by. We had updates on finances, cybersecurity, Prevent, improving board diversity, HR, the HfL Chairs’ Network, the role of evidence in supporting a Pupil Premium strategy and an assortment of other items. I need to process my notes to extract all of the actions.
  • Had a bit of an up-and-down week on the bike. Events seemed to conspire against my turbo attempts at the start of the week. Unexpectedly Working from home was a big help later on though, and I ended up going out for two lovely rides at the weekend. It was nice to spend more time with my eldest boy. He’s getting faster!

Next week: Back in the office again, catching up with my overdue document reviews backlog, and two album club evenings.

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