If someone were to ask me what comes to mind when you hear the word “virtual”, I immediately think of someone wearing a VR (virtual reality) headset playing futurist PlayStation games. But here I am starting my new role at Hastings with a virtual induction, having not met any of my new colleagues in person.

About a week before my start date, I received a call from my recruitment contact and my line manager who offered assurances that regardless of lockdown or anything else out of my control, my start date was guaranteed. Given the situation we have found ourselves in during these strange times, this relieved so much stress and meant the world to me.

The IT team went to great lengths to ensure I received my equipment to get me up and running at home, in a time where there was lots of challenges. I’m extremely grateful and think it proves to us all that anything is possible when we work collaboratively.

I’ve been asked several times how it’s been starting my new job at Hastings Direct working remotely during lockdown, and the strange answer I continually find myself replying is “EASY”! Mostly that’s greeted by surprise but it’s genuinely the truth. The culture at Hastings Direct is created and driven by its people, and every single interaction I have had so far has been fantastic. I would describe the culture here as friendly, helpful, polite, knowledgeable, engaging and fun! Working virtually has had the odd challenge, for example when I want to just pop by my colleague’s desk to ask a quick question, but everyone has been so accommodating and eager to support, I’ve honestly never felt like a burden.

I would like to thank everyone I’ve had the pleasure to “virtually meet” so far at Hastings Direct, and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of my team when we are back in the office.

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Date added: 27th May 2020