The 16th March seems a long time ago when I last was out calling with customers, the quick lock-down in Northern Ireland has had a life changing impact on all of society over the last three months.

For me it has been hard transition, from a role that was out four days a week face to face selling to being confined to the home office (bedroom, spare bedroom, kids play room, kitchen table – depending on work and family activities)

My wife, Arlene, works in the NHS in the Belfast Trust in the middle of ICU’s supporting the fight vs Coronavirus, so it has been a real team effort as a family. From the start of lock-down we tried as best as possible to have some routine for us all.

Most people start their day with a coffee, but I have been using a Joe Wicks 20 minute session to kick start my day when the kids are still asleep. This has given me a good feeling once I get to my desk and in a positive mind-set to face any challenges that come my way.

It is very easy to just be reactive to incoming phone calls and emails, but I set monthly, weekly and daily targets which resulted in proactive sales activities to ensure ATC was in the minds of our customers. In turn I kept in regular contact with my key accounts to make the most of opportunities in the leaner months.

The world of ZOOM / TEAMS / WHATSAPP videos has become the norm, customers and colleagues have been flexible and understanding with the background noise of a busy house. From Product Demonstration and Virtual site Surveys, it has worked in most cases.

Three days a week when Arlene is at work, I managed work / home schooling / meal times and daily activities / walks to keep my three children and a dog entertained, at times it has been a huge effort but has been rewarding in some many aspects. Seeing them develop in front of me when normally we miss it as school looks after most of it…

Thankfully over this period ATC’s Directors have supported their staff and we are seeing each week sales turnover increasing and we hope getting back to 100% in the coming months, ready for the Winter Heating season where we will of course excel in the market place as the No 1 Supplier in our sector.

As a family we have all got closer and yes there have been stressful times but we can see some normality in our lives with restrictions being lifted and the pub in booked for the 3rd of July for a family gathering and a hair cut soon after!!!

I look forward to getting back out on the road and seeing my customers again face to face and have some craic with them!!!