At first, working from home felt so strange. As our office is located close to Oxford Circus, I was so used to the busy commute each morning and evening, the buzz of the office and the ability to wander around Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Soho during lunchtime. However, now we are into week 9 of working from home, sometimes it is hard to remember what ‘normal’ life was like. I miss my colleagues and working together collaboratively in the office - but thankfully due to technology and the constant use of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and WhatsApp - we are all able to remain in touch each day.
Early on, I realised the importance of having a structure to each day. For me, this involves writing a ‘to-do list’ with all the tasks that I need to get completed for that day and planning how long I need to spend on each task. Sometimes this list will include both home related tasks as well as work to ensure that things get done. My routine is also supported by the fact that the other member of my household is a frontline key worker and therefore goes to work each day and this definitely helps me stick to my routine. I also found that it was essential for me to have designated areas in my flat; one for work and the other for relaxing. This ensures that the two do not merge together. Part of my daily structure also includes ensuring that I get some fresh air each day. Not having much of a garden at home means I need to leave my house each day to go for a walk. Luckily, I am fortunate that I live close by to many parks and woodlands trails. Over the last 9 weeks, I have been exploring the different routes and finding new paths to take which I have really enjoyed. I think it is so important to step away from the laptop and take a proper break - this also includes not checking your phone constantly for emails when you are taking a break! This was a pattern I found difficult to break at first as I wanted my colleagues to know that I was available 24/7 but it meant that I never switched off from work which is so important to do.
My days are filled liaising with our candidates and clients; keeping in touch and offering advice and support via video, phone and emails. I have also been fortunate enough to recently get more involved with the training side of the business which I am really enjoying. This has been another challenge for us; adapting our courses from face to face to now being online but we have risen to the challenge. In the evening, my time is filled cooking (I am really enjoying having more time to learn new recipes and try new ideas!), reading books, completing my adult colouring book, watching Netflix and Disney+, video calling my family and friends as well as participating in a weekly quiz. Sometimes it is hard to remember what I did before lockdown.
Also, I do think it is important to note the positives that this period of working from home has bought us. For me, it has been a relief to have a break from the commute and the crowded trains, to have more time for myself and to slow down a little, to make more time to communicate with my family and friends and there’s no denying that not being able to wander at lunchtime has certainly helped my wallet! At this moment, more than ever, I feel extremely grateful to still be working and grateful that myself and my loved ones are in good health.
As for the future, I will take each week as it comes, and see what the new normal will be like for us all. For now, most importantly, stay positive and focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for.