Blog written by Abigail Thompson, Key Account Manager at CCM Group.

If someone had told me when I was offered the Key Account Manager role at CCM Group that I would be starting it from a laptop at my dining room table, surrounded by my 3 year old daughter, husband and dog, I would have thought they were crazy. In actual fact, that was the reality of my first day at work!

My previous experience consists of six and a half years within the print, design and packaging industry and although I had veered away from this in my previous role, I always knew it was an industry I wanted to get back into. I was lucky enough to secure the opportunity to join CCM Group as a Key Account Manager, supporting our clients in all aspects of their requirements. However, little did I know that accepting such a great opportunity would bring with it such an unusual first day!

In any normal situation, starting a new job can be a daunting and nerve-racking experience, but throw in a global pandemic causing a national lockdown and it is a whole different ball game. I tried to approach my first day as I would have done any normal first day of work. Granted, I had a much shorter commute and it was probably the first time in three weeks I had made an effort with my appearance (I didn’t think it would be acceptable on my first day to sit in my pyjamas with the camera switched off). Good first impressions and all that, right?

I was very lucky that communication from CCM had been amazing leading up to my start date and they had involved me in a company-wide strategy awayday before I started. This meant that I had already met the whole team which massively helped with my initial nerves. However, this was some time before so as I logged on to the morning call, I still had the nervous butterflies that you may experience when first walking into a new office environment. I can honestly say that as soon as the call started I was put at ease, the team were amazing, so welcoming and friendly. I also had a thorough induction schedule readily prepared for my first week, which really supported me through the coming days.

The schedule put in place meant I was able to take ownership of who I needed to be talking to and supported me in building my own relationships with various team members. Of course, there were times when we had to re-schedule or it sounded like you were talking to a robot due to the internet connection, but all in all it worked well. The daily communication and calls on Google Hangouts have been a huge highlight, being able to check in with everyone and see what was going on in the business through different departments was a great way to keep everyone updated and especially useful for a newbie!

Don’t get me wrong there have been frustrations and pressures, but I am very fortunate that these were not imposed by my new employer, but more so by myself. As many will know it can be a struggle trying to juggle the stresses of parenthood with full-time working, let alone when everything you are learning is new to you. I also felt pressure in figuring out the balance between time sat at the laptop and personal downtime (catching the rays especially) when you are trying to make a good impression (even if that is in a virtual way)! As the weeks moved on I realised I was the only source of pressure on myself and I can only do my best.

All in all, my initial experience as a CCM employee has been very positive. I think the key components keeping me sane in a new job during lockdown is the communication and support offered from the team. No I am not physically in the office where my colleagues can visibly see me, but I am doing my best on the other side and still learning as I go (as are a lot of the team). We are all in this together and I look forward to my bright future with CCM Group.