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Lockdown 3! – Here we go again

In a previous blog at the end of last year I shared that I had spent New years day 2020 planning the BEC’s year …big mistake as we all know all that it all went horribly wrong and the arrival of COVID-19 decimated our plans for 2020.

This year I wasn’t at all well over Christmas and New Year no prizes for guessing the illness, however, I was luckier than most in not needing medical attention or the hospital. Having lolled around for two weeks feeling wretched I was looking forward to going back to work… a return to routine and a sense of normality in these strange times.

Well, that lasted for one day as the 8pm announcement on Monday the 4th revealed that we would be heading back into lockdown from Tuesday.  Now thankfully for many businesses this is just business as usual as they have been homeworking for nine months or more, like my public sector colleagues who essentially have never really gone back.

However, for the businesses who reside with us at the BEC, who had returned to our buildings in June of last year this is yet another major upheaval yet again the buildings need to be vacated and closed. Many would argue that after the first lockdown they should always have had a contingency plan; believe me we tried but our residents and businesses feel a sense of belonging, a community of like-minded people and I get that is just not available at home.

So here are some tips for making working from home more bearable.

I get that its difficult home schooling, crap weather making working difficult. When my son lived at home, we did not have a spare room to convert and so I had a desk on the upstairs landing not ideal but at least a space I could work from.  Now thankfully he is long gone (I’m not thankful that he is gone but that is a whole different blog) but that his former bedroom is now my office. I converted it last January I must have had a premonition.

So, try to find a space that is separate from family life even if it is a ‘Harry Potter’ office you know the cupboard under the stairs style office.

My second tip is about a routine which means taking a break, a tea break, lunch breaks and an exercise break before it gets dark, basically some down time and if you are home alone this needs to be more than a cuppa and a slice of toast! A proper lunch its January and you might not have Greggs nearby, but we should be eating healthy right?

My third tip is about keeping in touch and I don’t mean having a zillion video meetings. My learning from first lockdown is that I didn’t keep in touch with friends and family as much as I should have done. Not for any other reason than just ‘zoomed out’ in a very intensive working period.  So, make times for friends and family however ‘zoomed out’ you may be, we are all missing our circle of friends and family however big or small that is…

My fourth tip is about collaboration working from home can feel like a solo experience, but it still involves interacting with others. While email can be effective for deciding or passing information; we all know that working from home clogs up inboxes quickly.  My tip is to find an app that works for you to ask that quick question or check in with your team or partners. Rapport has never been more important now in my eyes.

My final tip is to start thinking about the future, this must be over at some point and if you are like me there is joy in planning especially with fabulous stationary, stickers, and coloured pens but that is probably also another blog.

Whatever works for you to get through this, lets hope and pray this is the last time. In my darkest moments I visualise putting my hand in a coat pocket and finding a face mask.  I look at it and think remember when we had to wear these in public spaces. I think that in years to come this will bring me more joy than finding a £20 note in my husband’s jeans pocket and keeping it!