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Lockdown diaries: Santa Claus


Rob Thompson

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Rob Thompson

Lockdown diaries: Santa Claus

Source: Radius Data Exchange 15 Nov 2020

 

A dispatch from the North Pole on the future of the workshop, logistics and preparing for the big day

Up at 4.30am to go to the toilet. I might only be 1,749 years old, but I seem to have developed the bladder of a man 500 years my senior. There’s no point in trying to go back to sleep. Mrs Claus is still in the land of nod, so I pad downstairs to put the kettle on.

It’s been a funny old year. Covid seemed to get around the world even faster than I can. But time now to spread some joy. Cancelling Christmas? Out of the question. Glad the politicians saw sense.

I’m behind with the children’s letters, as usual, so I get started with some reading over the first cuppa and a bowl of porridge. Archie in south-west London wants a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to block out the sound of his father’s Zoom calls. What has lockdown done to these families?

After breakfast is finished and the reindeer fed, I head to the study to spend some time preparing for a webcast I’m speaking on later in the week called “The Future of the Toy Workshop: Getting Ready for the New Normal”. It will be good to share some thoughts on how to adapt in the face of a changing industry. Antony Slumbers is hosting it.

Lunch with Mrs Claus has been a regular treat this year, given that I’ve been unable to spend as much time in the workshop with the elves. It’s important to strike a work-life balance. She asks when I’m going to fix the back gate. Doesn’t she realise I’m doing just as much work even though I’m at home? Might hide in the study for the afternoon.

The afternoon begins with a call to a couple of agencies to talk about logistics sites. Social distancing means I need the same number of helpers – we haven’t furloughed a single elf – but an even larger space in which to get everything prepared. Not easy with appetite for industrials as big as it is, and don’t the agents love to remind me of it. There’s a fantastic site coming to market nearby but I can already see the price being pushed higher than my sleigh, and my competitors have as much firepower as me after Brussels sprouts. What does SEGRO need with an industrial unit at the North Pole anyway?

Next, some paperwork to sort out for an exciting revamp of part of the workshop. Lockdown has taught me that I can work pretty much anywhere, Mrs Claus notwithstanding, and so having office space within the workshop no longer feels necessary. I can work from the house and the accounting, HR and business development teams can all work remotely too. So we’re repurposing the office space as homes for the little helpers. I’d always been intrigued by the offices-to-resi trend, and the elves are so small that I don’t need to worry about minimum size requirements at all.

I stop mid-afternoon for a brisk walk in the bracing winter air. Just lovely. Trying to make sure I hit 10,000 steps each day. Don’t want to do so much that I lose the loveable, rotund figure, but, as Mrs Claus points out, I’m not getting any younger and I should be looking after myself a bit more.

Back at the house, I have a quick catch-up via Teams with the head elf to make sure everything is running as it should with just a couple of weeks to go until the 25th. The day-to-day running of the workshop largely takes care of itself now, and it’s good to know I can rely on the team to look after everything without me being accused of micromanagement.

After reading a few more letters it’s time for a cheeky port, dinner and then a relaxing, hot bath. I have to admit, as soon as the calendar says “December” I start to get a little nervous about the big day, even having done it as many times as I have. Performance anxiety, I suppose, but this time it really does feel like there’s a lot riding on it. Who doesn’t need some cheer after everything 2020 has thrown at us? It’s been a funny old year.   

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