Things are still pretty…abnormal. In the past few days we have gone from being advised to work from home if possible, to being told all schools are closing, to all social areas like pubs, restaurants, gyms etc. being told to close, effective immediately. I’m not completely sure if these more extreme measures were all part of a planned progressive series of events or due to the fact that a great deal of people took the initial advice as polite suggestions and chose to blindly ignore the compelling evidence showing why social distancing is so critical. Whatever the reason hopefully this will really force people to keep themselves as locked down as possible and for us, now our oldest is out of school, we are basically self isolating other than sending Garry out foraging for food every so often.
Work is still…challenging. The company I work for have had to dramatically update IT to allow 1000s of people to suddenly work from home and despite their best efforts many of us are unable to access emails which has now led me to believe that the companies who have managed to go email free are really onto something.. How can it be this difficult to function without email? And why does most of my work seem to revolve around it?? So for now I’ve dedicated myself to figuring out working outside the world of email and feel like this could be one of the positives of this whole bloody thing.
Phone calls and teleconferences seem to be taking up most of my day (I’m not sure I ever did this much talking in the office??) and I spent 10 hours yesterday on calls. I actually thought I may die at the end of it (only slight exaggeration) BUT it did show that something that I was sure could only work in person could actually be done remotely. Again, something positive that may result. And this ultimately might help with the long term management of my health – travelling can be so challenging so for events to be held online would be so much accessible.
My husband is also facing the same challenges and on many, many conference calls and despite our best efforts to tag team child care there are times when it’s inevitable where the kids need to be plonked in front of the TV whilst we work in the corner. Unfortunately our 3 year old has now realised that when either of us are on the phone, we are desperate to keep her quiet and compliant. And she senses the desperation. I would say about 5 minutes into any given call she suddenly makes eye contact (at this point you start to get slightly stressed. You are in the middle of a team talk and trying to keep it all professional and prove that yes, you can nail this working from home thing). She starts walking over. You go on mute and say a few redundant things like ‘I’m on the phone honey just watch Hey Duggy’. She gives no shits. MUMMY I’M HUNGRY CAN I HAVE A BISCUIT. Yes, yes, have a biscuit. Slight pause TWO BISCUITS. Yes, all the sodding biscuits. At this point I’m basically throwing the packet at her and begging her to re-enter the zombie tv state but she usually wangles a few sweets and a box of smarties out of me before smugly sitting back and allowing me to get on with my call. I swear I get a side eye at this point. Next week the 6 year old will enter the game and with the two of them ganging up I may as well admit defeat and put out a trough of sweets before I even start on a call.
By the time the evening rolls round, we are all in a weird state of cabin fever and sugar high so we have managed a few walks round the block then I am mostly enjoying a couple of glasses of wine whilst juggling about a dozen WhatsApp conversations with colleagues and friends, all of us desperately finding ways to survive this weird new world we have found ourselves in (mostly through the medium of gifs). And thank goodness for those chats! It’s so helpful to know we are all going through this together and having the same worries and frustrations.
Today, after a week of seeing no one other than the people in my house, I started using video calling more and found it so much more social than just voice calling. I think this is going to be one of the keys to getting through this whole thing and various groups are already discussing drinks parties over Zoom and board games by Skype. I guess if we all have to self isolate there has never been a better time, in terms of the tech available to us.
Lastly, I have read SO many blogs and articles in the last week about home working and believe this subject has now been utterly exhausted and no one should ever write another word of advice about it ever. The last one I read obviously realised that every useful tip possible had already been claimed, so recommend ‘wearing shoes’ whilst working from home. Yep, we are definitely done.