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Culture

Long Distance and Lockdown: How ScreenCloud Helped Me Through the Pandemic

The pandemic affected everyone differently. For our People Team Assistant Lish, it meant not seeing family for a year and a half. Here's her story and how ScreenCloud supported her through it.

August  2021

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being surrounded by good people in the face of adversity and uncertainty is crucial.

Uncertainty. God, I hate that word. The word uncertainty for a meticulous planner like myself fills me with dread; typically, I love knowing what is happening, where, when, and who is going. What do I need to bring? What time shall I arrive? As those I travel with know all too well, every trip has to have a pre-planned itinerary. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has been ongoing in the UK for around a year and a half now, and we’ve spent most of that time in and out of national lockdowns – unable to travel freely or see our loved ones. As a result, one of the many challenges we have had to endure is uncertainty. 

For me, it's the uncertainty of when I’ll be able to see my family again.

Currently, we’ve been apart for about a year and a half, but who's counting? Even with the UK’s new found ‘freedom day’, I’ve still been unable to travel home to see my family due to the turbulent Coronavirus situation in Thailand. To give this some context; I’m Lish. I’m twenty three years old, half English and half Thai, living in London.

My Mum is originally from a small village in Northern Thailand and my Dad is from a small town in North Yorkshire. I was born in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, where we lived for a little under a year before my parents moved us to the UK. Fast forward to the present day; my Mum and my brother are currently living in Thailand’s southern island of Phuket, where our family home is located, and my Dad is working away in Indonesia. Dad’s side of the family are all scattered around the UK but, due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to see them properly for over a year. Only recently were we all reunited at a family wedding and let me tell you, many happy tears were shed. I’ve never loved hugging my grandparents more!

Have you ever cried for the whole duration of a twelve hour flight? I would not recommend it.

After living in the UK for around fifteen years, we moved back to Thailand in 2013 and settled down in Phuket. I use the word ‘moved’ loosely, as I had to be dragged onto the plane. Unhappy was not an understatement. Have you ever cried for the whole duration of a twelve hour flight? I would not recommend it. The thought of moving across the world, then aged fifteen, terrified me and leaving behind everything I knew and moving to the unknown was daunting.

Again, the fear of uncertainty and something I could not forecast or control. Eight years later, after studying in both Thailand and the UK, I’ve settled in London to focus on my career. And now I work for ScreenCloud.

When the first national lockdown was announced in March 2020, I was really anxious at the thought of being stuck indoors and losing my support group, especially as my family is over 6,000 miles away. My nightmare became a reality when three months into the lockdown I lost my job and was made redundant. 

At the time, I’d been living in London for around seven months and I had never felt so far away from my family and what was familiar to me. A lot of worry followed; how will I pay rent? What am I going to do? Who can I talk to about all of this? Luckily, shortly afterwards, I was introduced to ScreenCloud by an old colleague and I have been working with them ever since!

Culture, inclusivity and diversity were the most important factors to me when looking for a new role.

What attracted me to ScreenCloud initially was that they also had an office hub based in Bangkok. Growing up mixed race and attending an international school has taught me that culture, inclusivity and diversity were the most important factors to me when looking for a new role; I wanted to be appreciated for my differences… They shouldn’t be the reason why I stand out from a crowd. 

My colleague Kieran once said “At ScreenCloud, you are allowed to be yourself and you don’t have to put on a different image when you come into the office” and what a truth that is! As a ScreenClouder, I feel valued for who I am. Not only am I lucky enough to be able to use my heritage – something I am so proud of – in my everyday work, but I’m encouraged to do so.

One of the benefits ScreenCloud offers to its employees is a Personal Development Fund, which can be used to develop our knowledge and skills in the workplace. I’ve used some of my fund to purchase some Thai language textbooks so that I can improve on my Thai and speak more confidently with the Bangkok team via Zoom – and eventually in person when we can finally travel again.

They don’t call Thailand the land of smiles for nothing!

When I first joined ScreenCloud and the Bangkok team found out that I was Luk Khreung (which translates in English to ‘half child’)they were so welcoming and I felt at home. It’s hard to describe, it’s just a comforting and familiar feeling. The Thai’s are probably some of the friendliest people that you’ll ever meet… They don’t call Thailand the land of smiles for nothing!

The Thai’s are known for their laid back and relaxed nature that comes from the teachings of Buddhism; to live life at a slow pace and enjoy what it has to offer. In Thailand, we call this ‘sabai sabai’, which literally translates to ‘relaxed’ or ‘chilled out’. As a result of this easy lifestyle, some of the things that may be deemed a bit out of the ordinary here in the West are completely normal in Thailand.

An example of this? Last year I was having my weekly call with my colleague in Bangkok whilst she was in the noodle shop grabbing some boat noodles (or Guay Tiew as they are called in Thai; a noodle soup dish containing a variety of meat and vegetables. Hands down one of my favourite Thai dishes ever).

Taking a meeting whilst eating lunch in the West may be seen as rude, but in Thailand this is more normal, as per the sabai sabai lifestyle. In Asian culture, food is also known to bring people together and it brings a sense of closeness (my friends can attest to the fact that I am a huge feeder) so the nature of the call really reminded me of home and Thai values.

Since I moved out of Phuket, it’s been a ritual for me and my family to get boat noodles as our first meal when we are all back together on the Island, so this really brought a sense of homeliness and comfort that cannot be easily fabricated.

In Asian culture, family is everything… This is definitely embodied by the Thai team and the Bangkok hub is known for its ‘family vibe’; everybody supports and helps one another as if they are a family.

I am incredibly grateful to be able to work with the Bangkok team and share a mutual understanding and love of Thai culture and Thailand itself. In Asian culture, family is everything and we are taught that relationships are the most important things in life; you put other people's happiness before your own and find gratification in having good relationships with those around you. This is definitely embodied by the Thai team and the Bangkok hub is known for its ‘family vibe’; everybody supports and helps one another as if they are a family.

Trust and autonomy underpins everything we do at ScreenCloud, which is highlighted by one of our benefits… unlimited annual leave. Due to this unlimited holiday policy – which recognises all cultural holidays in our four hub locations – I am also able to take off Thai holidays that I wish to celebrate, something I was never able to do before due to rationing my holiday days. Our flexible working policy also means that, if I wanted to, I would be able to work from home during my next trip to Thailand, which, again, takes away so much stress and means I can spend some much needed quality time at home with my family.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being surrounded by good people in the face of adversity and uncertainty is crucial.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that working as part of such a culturally diverse team has really helped with my mental health this past year and a half. For those with the privilege of fitting in with those who surround them, this would not even be something to be considered, but for internationals like myself, inclusion and diversity in the workplace can really make a difference. 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being surrounded by good people in the face of adversity and uncertainty is crucial and those are the same people that will get you through those tough days. An inclusive and diverse workplace is not something businesses should be cultivating overnight in order to tick a box, follow a movement, or improve their marketing; it’s something that they should strive for and foster as part of their internal culture because they want to.

 For some, a diverse workplace with an inclusive culture could be the main thing getting them through the turbulent  and unprecedented times we are all currently enduring. 

Alisha McKenzie, People Team Assistant

Lish works as ScreenCloud's People Team Assistant, based in our London hub. When she's not assisting in all things people related, you'll find her stalking sausage dogs on Clapham Common or in Gails buying blueberry muffins. She loves also cooking and getting artsy, and is still on her quest to become TikTok famous.

Culture

Long Distance and Lockdown: How ScreenCloud Helped Me Through the Pandemic

The pandemic affected everyone differently. For our People Team Assistant Lish, it meant not seeing family for a year and a half. Here's her story and how ScreenCloud supported her through it.

August  2021

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being surrounded by good people in the face of adversity and uncertainty is crucial.

Uncertainty. God, I hate that word. The word uncertainty for a meticulous planner like myself fills me with dread; typically, I love knowing what is happening, where, when, and who is going. What do I need to bring? What time shall I arrive? As those I travel with know all too well, every trip has to have a pre-planned itinerary. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has been ongoing in the UK for around a year and a half now, and we’ve spent most of that time in and out of national lockdowns – unable to travel freely or see our loved ones. As a result, one of the many challenges we have had to endure is uncertainty. 

For me, it's the uncertainty of when I’ll be able to see my family again.

Currently, we’ve been apart for about a year and a half, but who's counting? Even with the UK’s new found ‘freedom day’, I’ve still been unable to travel home to see my family due to the turbulent Coronavirus situation in Thailand. To give this some context; I’m Lish. I’m twenty three years old, half English and half Thai, living in London.

My Mum is originally from a small village in Northern Thailand and my Dad is from a small town in North Yorkshire. I was born in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, where we lived for a little under a year before my parents moved us to the UK. Fast forward to the present day; my Mum and my brother are currently living in Thailand’s southern island of Phuket, where our family home is located, and my Dad is working away in Indonesia. Dad’s side of the family are all scattered around the UK but, due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to see them properly for over a year. Only recently were we all reunited at a family wedding and let me tell you, many happy tears were shed. I’ve never loved hugging my grandparents more!

Have you ever cried for the whole duration of a twelve hour flight? I would not recommend it.

After living in the UK for around fifteen years, we moved back to Thailand in 2013 and settled down in Phuket. I use the word ‘moved’ loosely, as I had to be dragged onto the plane. Unhappy was not an understatement. Have you ever cried for the whole duration of a twelve hour flight? I would not recommend it. The thought of moving across the world, then aged fifteen, terrified me and leaving behind everything I knew and moving to the unknown was daunting.

Again, the fear of uncertainty and something I could not forecast or control. Eight years later, after studying in both Thailand and the UK, I’ve settled in London to focus on my career. And now I work for ScreenCloud.

When the first national lockdown was announced in March 2020, I was really anxious at the thought of being stuck indoors and losing my support group, especially as my family is over 6,000 miles away. My nightmare became a reality when three months into the lockdown I lost my job and was made redundant. 

At the time, I’d been living in London for around seven months and I had never felt so far away from my family and what was familiar to me. A lot of worry followed; how will I pay rent? What am I going to do? Who can I talk to about all of this? Luckily, shortly afterwards, I was introduced to ScreenCloud by an old colleague and I have been working with them ever since!

Culture, inclusivity and diversity were the most important factors to me when looking for a new role.

What attracted me to ScreenCloud initially was that they also had an office hub based in Bangkok. Growing up mixed race and attending an international school has taught me that culture, inclusivity and diversity were the most important factors to me when looking for a new role; I wanted to be appreciated for my differences… They shouldn’t be the reason why I stand out from a crowd. 

My colleague Kieran once said “At ScreenCloud, you are allowed to be yourself and you don’t have to put on a different image when you come into the office” and what a truth that is! As a ScreenClouder, I feel valued for who I am. Not only am I lucky enough to be able to use my heritage – something I am so proud of – in my everyday work, but I’m encouraged to do so.

One of the benefits ScreenCloud offers to its employees is a Personal Development Fund, which can be used to develop our knowledge and skills in the workplace. I’ve used some of my fund to purchase some Thai language textbooks so that I can improve on my Thai and speak more confidently with the Bangkok team via Zoom – and eventually in person when we can finally travel again.

They don’t call Thailand the land of smiles for nothing!

When I first joined ScreenCloud and the Bangkok team found out that I was Luk Khreung (which translates in English to ‘half child’)they were so welcoming and I felt at home. It’s hard to describe, it’s just a comforting and familiar feeling. The Thai’s are probably some of the friendliest people that you’ll ever meet… They don’t call Thailand the land of smiles for nothing!

The Thai’s are known for their laid back and relaxed nature that comes from the teachings of Buddhism; to live life at a slow pace and enjoy what it has to offer. In Thailand, we call this ‘sabai sabai’, which literally translates to ‘relaxed’ or ‘chilled out’. As a result of this easy lifestyle, some of the things that may be deemed a bit out of the ordinary here in the West are completely normal in Thailand.

An example of this? Last year I was having my weekly call with my colleague in Bangkok whilst she was in the noodle shop grabbing some boat noodles (or Guay Tiew as they are called in Thai; a noodle soup dish containing a variety of meat and vegetables. Hands down one of my favourite Thai dishes ever).

Taking a meeting whilst eating lunch in the West may be seen as rude, but in Thailand this is more normal, as per the sabai sabai lifestyle. In Asian culture, food is also known to bring people together and it brings a sense of closeness (my friends can attest to the fact that I am a huge feeder) so the nature of the call really reminded me of home and Thai values.

Since I moved out of Phuket, it’s been a ritual for me and my family to get boat noodles as our first meal when we are all back together on the Island, so this really brought a sense of homeliness and comfort that cannot be easily fabricated.

In Asian culture, family is everything… This is definitely embodied by the Thai team and the Bangkok hub is known for its ‘family vibe’; everybody supports and helps one another as if they are a family.

I am incredibly grateful to be able to work with the Bangkok team and share a mutual understanding and love of Thai culture and Thailand itself. In Asian culture, family is everything and we are taught that relationships are the most important things in life; you put other people's happiness before your own and find gratification in having good relationships with those around you. This is definitely embodied by the Thai team and the Bangkok hub is known for its ‘family vibe’; everybody supports and helps one another as if they are a family.

Trust and autonomy underpins everything we do at ScreenCloud, which is highlighted by one of our benefits… unlimited annual leave. Due to this unlimited holiday policy – which recognises all cultural holidays in our four hub locations – I am also able to take off Thai holidays that I wish to celebrate, something I was never able to do before due to rationing my holiday days. Our flexible working policy also means that, if I wanted to, I would be able to work from home during my next trip to Thailand, which, again, takes away so much stress and means I can spend some much needed quality time at home with my family.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being surrounded by good people in the face of adversity and uncertainty is crucial.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that working as part of such a culturally diverse team has really helped with my mental health this past year and a half. For those with the privilege of fitting in with those who surround them, this would not even be something to be considered, but for internationals like myself, inclusion and diversity in the workplace can really make a difference. 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that being surrounded by good people in the face of adversity and uncertainty is crucial and those are the same people that will get you through those tough days. An inclusive and diverse workplace is not something businesses should be cultivating overnight in order to tick a box, follow a movement, or improve their marketing; it’s something that they should strive for and foster as part of their internal culture because they want to.

 For some, a diverse workplace with an inclusive culture could be the main thing getting them through the turbulent  and unprecedented times we are all currently enduring. 

Alisha McKenzie, People Team Assistant

Lish works as ScreenCloud's People Team Assistant, based in our London hub. When she's not assisting in all things people related, you'll find her stalking sausage dogs on Clapham Common or in Gails buying blueberry muffins. She loves also cooking and getting artsy, and is still on her quest to become TikTok famous.

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