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Working from home in the midst of a global pandemic

Published on 27 April 2021

Working from home in the midst of a global pandemic

I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to work throughout the pandemic and I am so proud of everything our team achieved. I have not had to face the reality of being a frontline NHS or key worker, I know many friends in travel who’ve been made redundant or struggle financially. So, let me say that being able to work from home is a real privilege. I am so thankful, and it will be hard to give up. Equally, it did take me time to adapt to this new way of working and here are some of the things I found made the difference.

Setting boundaries

Days were long as I felt I had to compensate for my second job. Yes, being a teacher to two of my children. This meant starting work before anyone else was awake then working late into the night. My boundaries were on my total number of hours worked each week, as this allowed me flexibility to home school. Being at home, there was no escape from the work challenges, no commute with time to scroll through social media or catch up with friends. No physical or mental space between home and work. For me, a daily walk at the end of each working day was what helped me switch off safely.

The physical environment

Sitting on the sofa balancing a laptop on your knee doesn’t cut it long term. Try to find a desk or worktop, where you can set up your home office. Your employer may be able to provide you with extra equipment such as monitors, printers, keyboards and headsets. These make a big difference. There is an abundance of technology to allow you to connect with colleagues: WhatsApp, Phone, Zoom, Skype or Teams. We’ve become au fait with these, with the phrase “you’re on mute” now part of our daily vocabulary.

A strong support network

Talk and check in on each other’s wellbeing. Take five minutes to see how someone is coping or chat about home-school. This can brighten the day and kindness has a wonderful way of coming back around. The unexpected delivery of flowers or chocolates were a highlight of the year, from staff to say “thank you”, “we miss you guys”. The late nights for constantly changing rosters had not gone unnoticed.

Supporters come from many places. I work in a small, close-knit team, but outside this, my big supporters have been at The Forum with tutorials, webinars, network groups, people who gave me confidence. Thanks also to many individuals. You have taught me not to put limits on my support network.

There have been many changes over the past year but what hasn’t changed is my belief that you need to be true to yourself, stand by the values that define you and do not compromise your integrity to please others. People may not always like what you say, but you will like yourself even less if you do not speak up. In a time where mental wellbeing matters more than ever, this is paramount for inner peace.

Author: Karen Christmas

Date Published: 27th April 2021

This article was first published in the 2021 Best Practice Guide - Unlocking Opportunities: You are the Key

To download a full digital copy of the Best Practice Guide, click here

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