At the start of the first nationwide lockdown last year, we brought you the WFH Diaries; interviewing both colleagues across our team and industry insiders alike, we showed how people were dealing with being thrown into balancing work and life from home.
Several months on and with a third national lockdown, we’ve revisited these topics; after being in lockdown for so long, how do you manage to retain “normality” whilst also being productive? We’ve asked the Retail Assist team – here’s some of their ideas.
Jordon Graham, Digital Executive
The hardest thing for me has been not seeing friends and family, particularly as they haven’t been able to see my growing baby bump as much as they’d like! Over lockdown, I’ve been making the most of the opportunity to meet outside for a socially-distanced walk at the weekends, even if it is just with one other person. It really gives me something to look forward to throughout the week.
Frances Thomas, Head of Client Services
I am a person who likes a structure and I have a routine which helps me focus on my day and get the most out of it – well, that’s the intention. I am focusing on the day-to-day a lot more. I have some ideas for some projects for this year, but I am not mentally setting any plans in stone; some flexibility is important I think for mental wellbeing. Last year showed us that planning at the moment is a bit futile – cancelled holidays, family get togethers etc. So, if something does happen, it’s a bonus – I am not setting my hopes on it.
Going for walks does feature heavily in my current life. Exercise is really important to me, not only for keeping healthy but getting out! My hubby and I use our regular pre-work walk as a time for putting the world to rights.
The photo of the cyclamen is because I normally kill all plants but I managed to revive this one last year and am proud of my efforts. I love the leaf pattern and it makes me smile on a regular basis – in lockdown, the little things matter.
The coffee is part of my routine between 10am – 11am, meetings allowing. I grind the beans – I love the smell – make a coffee in my favourite mug and enjoy – it’s as close to mindfulness as I get.
Zoom calls with family and friends have become a feature, something to look forward to, keeping in touch as much as possible with the people who are important to me.
Helen Wann, Account Development Manager
The number one thing I do to maintain my sanity during lockdown has to be the usual getting outdoors on long walks and bike rides: getting a fresh air kick is essential when being inside all day. My husband and I purchased new raincoats and wellies to ensure we can’t even be beaten by the wintery weather!
Speaking of which, my new year’s challenge is to pick back up the ‘Couch to 5K’ and I’ve just ordered warmer running gear, so I can’t use the excuse it is too cold anymore…
Lastly, I have to admit that I do now love a bit of gardening – my mum was right in the fact that one day I would get into it and actually find it therapeutic! (Lockdown may have turned me old before my time!) This weekend, I raised our front border and planted (a little late) the rest of my tulip, daffodil and allium bulbs….here’s hoping for a bright spring flowering garden!
Alex Broxson, Chief Marketing Officer
For me, whilst we don’t have the sunny weather that we had last time, it’s still been really important to get outside. I’ve always loved fitness, but I don’t think I’ve ever had so many walks in my life! It’s probably the most sensible and sober activity I have ever done on my birthday…
Fitness has kept me sane at many points. I think it’s great to clear your head and sometimes even use that time to come up with new ideas, or just totally switch off. The great thing at the moment is that I can exercise before work starts instead of commuting, so I can start the day feeling really awake, having been up for so long due to my in-house sleep deprivation manager – my 3 year old daughter!
For those that are also in the position of working, home-schooling and parenting all at once, I think I’ve learnt from the last lock down not to put so much pressure on myself with all the school work. However, what has also helped this time are the teachers who have had to turn their approaches around overnight and create a minimum of 3 virtual lessons per day. For that, I say a massive thank you and appreciate everything they are doing – it has really helped me to get on and work, and helped my daughter remain engaged and also get on with her own work, too.
I also like to keep in touch with people across the business through regular calls and messaging. We’ve achieved some impressive things remotely during lockdown – and I’m so proud of my team for how they’ve handled this – but I miss physically seeing people in the office. Whilst I want some flexibility to remain, I also want that buzz of the office and to leave my house a couple of times a week (at some point soon…hopefully!)
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