We are immensely proud of how hard our team have been working during the pandemic. Whilst it has not being the easiest of years everyone has shown a great level of resilience and kindness over the last twelve months, these are two of the qualities that we value the most at Ardent. Matt discusses his personal and professional experiences since the announcement of the first national lockdown in March 2020.

What were your aspirations, both personally and professionally at the start of 2020?
2020 was a very different year for me, on a number of levels! I had already made the decision to join Ardent at the beginning of the year and with the market quieter than usual, decided to have an extended period at home with my family. Our son, Leo, was born in September 2019 and I felt like I’d thrown myself back into work far too soon. The extended break was absolutely brilliant for all of us and something I’ll always look back on with fondness. We celebrated Leo’s first birthday in the September and I started at Ardent the following week.
In terms of professional aspirations, I was just excited about getting back into work and connecting with my new colleagues. I didn’t set myself any unrealistic goals; I just wanted to give it my all and hopefully the rest would take care of itself.

How have you stayed motivated during lockdown?
I was initially focussed on ‘completing’ Netflix, but quickly realised that was neither healthy or sustainable!
We always had plans to transform our garden and figured now was the ideal time. It took a lot of hard work, but I really enjoyed the project and much to everyone’s surprise; quite enjoy gardening now. I discovered I’m also a dab hand with a paintbrush.
I took up cycling (not in the full Lycra squad; much to the relief of the neighbours) and have enjoyed discovering different parts of Essex within a very conservative radius!
I was never really into Podcasts, but lockdown has changed that. As a huge fan of ‘The Sopranos’, the ‘Talking Sopranos’ pod has been a great listen every week. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed listening to ‘From the Oasthouse: The Alan Partridge Podcast’ on repeat.

How have you stayed connected with your clients and candidates over the last 12 months?
Given my extended break; reconnecting with clients and eventually candidates was incredibly important when the time came and something I really enjoyed. Since then, keeping in touch has been pretty straightforward. Although I miss travelling around the City meeting people in person, everyone working at home has certainly made catching up a little easier. I’ve done the odd Zoom call, but generally just made time on the phone, which has allowed me to stay in my comfy clothes for the bulk of the day.

What has been your biggest challenge over the last 12 months?
I’ve really missed my family and friends in the North. Also, the general anxiety attached to whether I’m going to fit into my suit trousers when the time comes.

What have you missed the most about working in London?
I’ve always loved working in London and I really miss the buzz of the place. The food scene is something I’ve really missed too and can’t wait to sample that again soon.

What do you think the world of work will look like a year from now?
Based on the chats I’ve had with clients and associates, I think the majority do favour a return to the office in some capacity, but with a greater degree of flexibility on the home-working front. The general consensus seems to be that a flexible two days at home is the right balance for the longer-term.