As I start my 5th week working from home, I thought it time to pause and reflect on the past few weeks and what has been going on. I moved up to Cumbria 6 years ago and purchased my home 4 years ago. I love Cockermouth and am extremely lucky to have been able to set up home here. I have worked from home the odd day before, but that was just off the kitchen table, with this being for the foreseeable future I have set up a proper little office space with this view of our bird feeding station.
I don’t know my birds but I do love to see blue tits and robins. I was delighted when we had two robins on the feeding station at the same time which is unique. It’s great to be able to be on the phone and mix up looking at the “photo wall” with looking at nature. I have kept to my usual routine as far as possible. I get up at the normal time, have breakfast, wash, dress into my business attire and head to the “office”, I make sure I have breaks from the desk and stop for lunch. At the end of the day commute up the stairs back “home” and get into my leisure clothes for the evening. I am finding this routine very helpful to distinguish work from home.
So that brings me on to my evenings. I am a bit of a train fan and a model railway enthusiast, so my evenings and weekends (when not outside enjoying this amazing weather in the garden) have been spent working on my railway layout. It’s a great hobby and a layout is never finished. I also enjoy going out on my bike for my one outing a day and am also involved in arranging our “virtual” church services and church groups for Cockermouth. We had our first Lighthouse (our young adults’ group) and JUMP (Youth group) meetings via zoom last week and it went really well. In fact we had more than we usually get in person at Lighthouse as people at uni and elsewhere could join in – we may continue this even when we can meet in person.
I am fortunate that my employer has allowed staff to support our community where possible, I am lucky to be able to take an extended lunch break on a Friday sometimes to act as a delivery driver for a local café taking sandwiches to the elderly and isolating. The café usually opens for people to come to but they have now set up (at distance from each other) making sandwiches.
In summary, this is a very strange time and we are certainly all learning new ways of working and interacting with each other, many of us are learning the tips and tricks of programs like Zoom, I had not even heard of zoom until 5 weeks ago!
For me the biggest thing to remember is we all have different situations and we must be accommodating and accepting of this. Some of my colleagues have children to support with school work while working, others are cramped into a small flat with no garden, whilst others are worrying about friends and family then are unable to see at this time.
We will all learn a lot from this and our lives will change, but most of all we must during this time support and look out for each other, technology offers amazing opportunities to keep in touch.
I challenge you all what can you do in addition this week to help others: You could set up a scavenger hunt via zoom, challenging people to be the first to find items in their homes. You could set up a form of TikTok challenge with friends. You could commit to phoning or emailing a friend or relative who is on their own once a week. You could support the efforts making personal protective equipment for the NHS? Amongst many other things you could do.
This is a time when we can all show leadership skills, we can all change the words above from “You could” to “I could”. It is great to see how the nation has pulled together at this time and you may be feeling, what could I do, but the answer is “I could do lots”, small acts of kindness go along way at this time.
Hope you all stay safe and well at this time.