New for 2020, ‘5 to 9’ is the new format for our boosst team updates.
With a name inspired by the things we have been doing outside of working hours, here you will find plenty of social activities, team achievements and personal touches. This ‘5 to 9’ post is shared by Gabby;

The last couple of months have certainly been a little different than we might have expected for the boosst Team! Covid-19 has rocked civilisation, with large changes to daily life. The world seems to have come to a temporary standstill with deserted high streets, closed bars and restaurants, and empty airports. We are fortunate to have great technology, which enabled the whole boosst team to continue working remotely, supporting our clients through this uncertain time.

With hysteria in the media, it can be easy to forget that March and April have been filled with stories of incredible bravery, selflessness and people coming together to help those who are most in need. It’s these stories that I hope we will all remember in the months to come, as we emerge on the other side.

March saw the start of a new era for us all, with home-working becoming the temporary ‘normal’! The boosst team transitioned to home-working the weekend before the lockdown was enforced. Most of our team are laptop based so simply did not return to the office, others came in on Monday to collect their iMacs. So, with newly established command centres in our homes,  we all remained connected and ready to guide our clients though this period of uncertainty. We have daily team Zoom Meetings to catch up on life, share new recipes and movie recommendations and discuss our workloads.

Board game nights, gardening, spring cleaning, puzzles and virtual quizzes seem to have dominated our evenings and weekends over the past month. Josh, Keith, Linda and I used one of our weekends to plant over 400 plants around the lake at the office, which we hope will provide an ideal habitat for the wide range of wildlife that the water has attracted. A pair of geese have already settled and nested on the island – needless to say we have a new pair of binoculars and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of goslings!

Jennie has got stuck in to some renovation works to test her newly-wed husband Nick. They started off  with minor decoration and before they knew it, they had ripped up and replaced the flooring. You can imagine why she makes a great Practice Manager here at boosst! The lockdown isn’t quite how they expected their first months of married life, but they are certainly making the most of the time at home together!

Mel received the fantastic news that he passed his Personal Taxation exam (R03) in March. Further exams are currently on hold through lockdown but Mel is continuing to study for his next exam in the hope that exam centres will reopen their doors. Mel has also moved back to be with his family during lockdown and is enjoying the time spent with them (although they seem to be making the most of his extra pair of hands for household jobs!).

Dawn and Vicki have both added ‘teaching’ to their skillsets, with schools shutting and their children at home full-time. Joe Wicks has provided some assistance with PE classes and teachers have been providing online lessons in key topic areas, but most other lessons are down to the parents. Dawn & Vicki have drawn up timetables to keep their children on track, with some home baking for food tech (pictures below!) and online courses to further their learning. They have both confirmed that there have been no expulsions or detentions… yet!

Vicki also received her certificate for becoming a Fellow of The Personal Finance Society, a fantastic achievement! We didn’t let the lockdown prevent some fun – and managed to hold an awards ceremony over Zoom with Keith presenting her certificate!

Avril’s usual weekends of American Civil War re-enactment have been postponed, so she has had more time in the garden. Her husband Gary has been doing a lot of digging to get the soil ready for Avril’s new vegetable plot. She has recently planted beans, courgettes, peas, chillis and potatoes to name just a few….. by summer Avril is hoping to be fully self-sufficient (personally, I am hoping for surplus veg that Avril can share!).

Jon joined the boosst team on Monday and has already made a great first impression with the team. His on-boarding journey is somewhat unconventional, with all training taking place by Zoom, but he has made a great start. Josh was particularly excited by the opportunity to drop off Jon’s computer at his home, the first time Josh had ventured outside of Hulcote in five weeks!

Josh has been beavering away in the evenings and weekends to progress his Masters in Financial Planning. He’s been keeping himself occupied through lockdown with a few interviews for industry magazines and he made a guest appearance on a Financial Planning Podcast a few weeks ago. Needless to say, his proudest achievement of lockdown is finally finishing this cruel gradient puzzle, which had been left unfinished in the Butten household since Christmas 2017!

Keith and Linda have also set up their own weekly quiz for those in the surrounding villages, to provide social interaction and to keep everyone connected. So far there have been up to 25 teams taking part in each weeks quiz, with 6 different Quizmasters and 6 different winning teams – so it’s currently all to play for! There have also been different themes (as chosen by the Quizmasters). Last week we had ‘best hat’ and this week we have ‘best homemade T-shirt’. General knowledge quizzing and social drinking have proven to be the concrete to bind our small communities in Hulcote & Salford during the lockdown!

As we all continue to embrace the lockdown, we hope that you and your families are staying safe and well. We are all here at the end of the phone if you have any questions or queries, or just fancy a catch up!

We are really looking forward to getting back to normal and seeing you all in the lovely new office once normality returns…