Our Time in Lockdown Part 2

Welcome back to part two of our time during lockdown. This time we spoke to Mike McAllister, Stuart Kings, Peter Howett and Olivia Toplass.

Our Time in Lockdown Part 2

Welcome back to part two of our time during lockdown.

This time we spoke to Mike McAllister, Stuart Kings, Peter Howett and Olivia Toplass.

A national lockdown has taught us so many personal lessons. To some it might be that they have realised they don’t need things they thought were necessary. Some have picked up new DIY and craft skills. We can all agree as a team our ability to work over zoom has increased by tenfold.

Let see what the team have to say this week:


Olivia Toplass

User Experience and Quality Engineer

Throughout lockdowns I have learnt to appreciate how important it is to have something little to look forward to and how much I took spontaneity for granted.

During lockdown I have acquired around 35 different houseplants ranging from succulents to ivy. I have learnt new decorating skills from watching DIY videos and I am also crocheting a lot more whilst binge watching home improvement shows.

I have still managed to stay connected with my team by having very regular zoom calls to stay connected with everyone! Outside of work I also do virtual quizzes with friends and formed a support bubble with one so we can watch films and chill out.

Before Coronavirus I would have been going to the salon to get my nails and eyelashes done religiously, however lockdown has made me realise I definitely don’t need them. I have learnt to gel my own nails as a nice treat, but the acrylics and eyelash extensions are a thing of the past.


Mike McAllister

Senior Developer

I feel that I have been more productive working at home. I have gotten to know my neighbours more too when I go outside.

Being at home has allowed me to learn new skills such as sketching, I have loved learning to draw.  I have also been taking photographs locally and sharing them with my team to stay connected and keep them entertained. I have also been able to get out more on my bikes too.

I used to visit a lot of coffee shops before lockdown, so I decided to invest in a coffee machine instead, this is something that I want to keep up after lockdown.


Dr. Stuart Kings

Technical Director

From working at home, I have learnt that it can be done. I used to teach people face to face and now everything is online. I have actually found that online teaching is more effective. I can share documents on the screen so everyone can see. I think more people are doing the NEC 4 qualification because of having more time during lockdown and wanting to better themselves.

I have been on lots of walks and making the most of the social interaction from going to supermarkets.

I feel that even though we are physically distant, being on a video call is more personal because I have met people’s pets and seen their houses. I have learnt more about people as a result.

I enjoy not having to travel for meetings, I have a lot more time and a better work – life balance. I don’t miss living out of hotel rooms, but I do miss going to London. If I could go anywhere at the moment it would be on holiday to Majorca.

I hope businesses realise that people can work remotely and that in the future there can be a balance to working from home and working in an office.


Peter Howett

Software Developer

I have learnt how important it is to have contact with your colleagues during lockdown. We sometimes have zoom calls in the background to keep each other company.  I haven’t really had any significant change to the way I work.

With having extra time on my hands, I have had more time to work on projects that I have been programming. I am looking forward to when I can get back to my other hobby which is rock climbing. With my spare time I have also started to bake, my favourite make are bagels that are baked in honey.

I have not cut my hair yet, however much my girlfriend, Amy wants to do it. I am trying to avoid it as much as possible. I might give in if the lockdown continues into March. Before lockdown I luckily moved into a bigger house so Amy and I can work from home in separate rooms, so we are not on each other’s toes.