So 2020 happened and we made it out the other side to 2021. Adapting to a new way of working has been a challenge for all of us but we have done it. I started the year as normal with commutes to work, working in an office and seeing my colleagues everyday which seems so alien now. In March things started to get a little peaky looking for everyone so our company took the decision to start working from home early a week or two before the first major lockdown.
This was a good step as it gave us time to adapt to a new way of working and one that I have never done before myself. I was given a laptop and packed up my desk and drove it home to set up, but where to set up? I opted initially for the go to that everyone opted for, the dining table. For the first two months our dining table became my office with a secondary screen which was far too big and laptop and keyboard etc. It was cramped but it was my office home.
Adapting to work life was challenging, getting used to video calls instead of just chatting to my colleagues at their desks and making sure every email is monitored and Slack message read was key. Communication and working from home is the number one priority, as if this goes wrong work cannot be done effectively. We adapted to this by having team morning meetings to outline our working day everyday and in the afternoon a wrap up team meeting to see if we had any issues and generally how the day went and how we felt. Checking in with one another during these times is key, just even to say hello.
Project wise we were steady and I continued to carry out maintenance jobs for our clients and also got to build cool new things, so I was learning and being productive at the same time, even not being in the office. I was afraid of slipping into a lazy phase of not getting up and starting work on time and being lazy generally, but I kept a routine of getting up early like I would normally do, having coffee and a shower, getting changed and being ready for the day ahead. This helped a lot to keep my normal routine. I won't lie, yes some days I kept my PJ bottoms on and didnt brush my hair, but I still got up and did a routine.
Office parties have been interesting this year, but thanks to video call tech we have been able to celebrate our companies ten year anniversary remotely and also have a christmas party all online and managed to get suitably tipsy in the process.
Lockdown has been hard but doable and has opened my eyes to a few things. Being greatful for what we have everyday, even if the broadband is slow sometimes and that we can't go out as much. I have learnt that a lot of things I used to do like wander rounds shops aimlessly in town is not something I need to do anymore or will do in future when things get better, doing one big shop is better than little ones, making sure I do more exercise outside in the countryside, which has been amazing.
It's not all been parties and easy times though, It also been a very lonely time even when I have a partner who is here with me. Not being able to see colleagues who I enjoy their company and friends has been difficult, but I have made an effort to utilise technology to video call family and friends most days to make sure they are okay and they know I'm okay and also take the opportunity to talk about how I am doing. It's been a struggle mentally, but I am massively greatful that I have a support network at work and home, which I know a lot of people don't have.
If any one is struggling there are plenty of charities out there that can help:
Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/ 0300 123 3393
Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/ 116 123 (UK)
I hope that everyone has a great and safe 2021.