I parked in the empty car park in the middle of Leeds near the building that BJSS one of the biggest tech firms in the city had just moved into. What timing I thought, they only moved ten days ago, and then lockdown happened.
I was meeting Jordan, a young IT specialist who worked with the company, and he was one of the team that had to come in to work during lockdown. Jordan appeared to be quite shy at first, I don’t think he had ever had his picture taken quite in this way, but when he spoke about his role now during the pandemic and how he and his team had worked so hard to get kit out to all their employees so they could work from home, his eyes lit up! I could tell he loved his work. After all we were all relying on IT during the pandemic, but these guys were dealing with clients such as the NHS, with critical IT needs.
Jordan told me that although he enjoyed coming to work with the empty offices, car parks, and the trouble free commute. He was worried about his mother. She had MS and he was concerned that he may take Covid home to her. He lived with his parents, and I could feel that deep sense of worry he had about what would happen if he did get Covid.
As we opened up Jordan opened up, and in fact I got the sense he was coming out of himself more and more during our little chats. He took me to his Air Cadets training centre where he teaches, and it was great to see a different side of him, a more playful side to him. Despite all the Covid rules they had managed to keep lessons going on line and back at camp eventually. The whole issue of looking at screens all day both for kids and adults was something we discussed. “I really think many kids were just so exhausted, perhaps I was too, what with home schooling all day looking at a screen, then we were asking them to do the same in the evening, it was hard for all of us”
Jordan navigated his way through the whole working from home thing too. Eventually ending up working from home part of the time, as most seemed to be doing. BJSS was the busiest it had ever been, they were taking on lots of new staff, and so having some work from home worked all round.
Jordan and I spent an afternoon walking around one of the parks in Leeds. He told me he would come here often during lockdown with his dog called Buddy. ‘Its great to look at nature and be amongst it rather than looking at a screen all the time” he would say “and Buddy likes it here a lot more”
On our last shoot I met Jordan back in the office. He was joking around with three colleagues, and it was a lovely thing to see. The office was busy again, and Jordan was as busy as ever! “Its great to be back in the office with people and having some fun again, zooms were so serious!” he said
I asked him how he felt about doing this project “I don’t like having my picture taken so when this project came along I was a bit anxious, 18 months not seeing anyone then a camera in my face! But I jumped in with two feet. It has actually been fantastic for me; I even think it has improved my confidence around other people. It has made me reflect more on what I’ve been going through too. I know one thing I will take life at a much slower pace than I did before, and maybe try to enjoy myself more.