I’ve completely lost count of the number of days or weeks we’ve been in lockdown now. I’m also out of touch with what stage other parts of the UK are at in terms of the lifting of restrictions and I’ve chosen only to focus on what is happening in Scotland now and going forward. We’ve been slower to start lifting restrictions and I’ve been glad of the cautious approach as it wouldn’t take much for things to go in the wrong direction. We need to learn to walk again before we start running and take things one step at a time. While we have more freedom now than we did even compared to a week or two ago, it remains a delicate situation and a majority of time is still being spent at home. It’s made much more bearable by being able to see family and friends again albeit outdoors and from a distance.
I’ve found this experience extremely reflective and I wanted something positive to come out of it if at all possible. I’ve learned a lot but today I wanted to focus on the things I’ll take forward in my day to day life.
Face to face contact is extremely important
Although I’m very much an introvert and that hasn’t changed and is highly unlikely to ever change, I still enjoy and crave social contact and the company of the people I love. Not being able to see them in person for a long period of time has only strengthened those bonds and I’m happy to be able to spend time with them again regularly albeit in the garden / outdoors for now.
Fresh air should never be taken for granted
I actually learned this years ago when I lived in the Middle East and fresh air was non-existent but it’s something that has come to the forefront again during this quarantine. When we were only allowed outside for 1 walk per day I felt obliged to use that opportunity as some people weren’t as fortunate or able to. On the days when I didn’t go outside I felt more restless and irritable and when I think about my day to day routine pre-lockdown I was hardly spending any time outside. I’d go to work by car, have a very short walk from the car to the office and then I’d be inside for 8 hours solid. I’d then have another short walk back to the car and head home spending the next 14+ hours inside again. When you look at it like that it’s startling. Now that we can see family and friends in small groups outdoors I’m pretty much spending all of my evenings and weekends outside. This is the way it should be and it’s something I’ll continue with going forward.
Sunday night blues are a thing of the past
After adjusting to a 9-5pm Monday to Friday working routine, gradually over time I developed the Sunday night blues. It’s not something I experienced when I worked shifts and had zero routine but over the last few years it crept in and was difficult to budge. The thing that got to me most was always the preparation for the week ahead. It became such a chore and I’m someone that likes and enjoys being organised or at least feeling somewhat organised. I got in to a funk with Sunday being the day I did everything from cleaning to doing my food shop and meal prep to all my blog and social media scheduling and at times there just wasn’t enough hours in the day. It also meant arriving at work on a Monday not feeling like I’d had a proper weekend as the proceeding day had been so hectic. Sunday should be an enjoyable day, a relaxing one at the very least and it shouldn’t feel like a marathon to get a weeks worth of activity completed in a short space of time. Since lockdown commenced I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my weekends with no time pressures, deadlines or preparations required. I still do certain tasks but I’ve got a better spread of activities across the week and I feel satisfied on a Sunday evening knowing I’ve enjoyed and made the most of the weekend which is something I’ll emulate when normality resumes.
Productivity can increase when working from home
I worked from home a lot with my previous job however since changing last year it was definitely perceived as ‘not possible’ and somewhat forbidden in my current role. When lockdown was announced I made the decision to work from home starting from the very next day despite my employer expecting staff to continue to work in a large, open plan office. I put myself in a challenging position considering I was still relatively new however I did it for the right reasons. I knew I could fulfil my role remotely however this concept took a little while to sink in. Eventually my colleagues were also told to work from home and thankfully it has been that way since. Sometimes you need to demonstrate success before others will catch on.
I think the biggest misconception employers have about staff working from home is that they won’t be disciplined enough, they will be watching daytime tv and won’t produce the same level of output as the normal working environment. This really comes down to trust and there will always be a minority of people who will skive, it happens in the office right in front of their faces and it’ll be no different when they are working from home. The majority of people will continue to perform at the same level or higher and while in some areas working remotely isn’t feasible or possible long term, it should be seriously considered for those who can do their job from anywhere. I’m far more productive when working from home with no distractions or unnecessary interruptions. I can get through more work in less time and still have contact with colleagues albeit in a slightly different way.
Have you learned anything during lockdown?
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