This is What We are Doing
How are you coping in isolation? We’re all experiencing ups, downs, highs and lows.
Oh my, how our life has changed over the past two and a half weeks... Three weekends ago I went to a gig in Shoreditch on Friday night and ran a half marathon at Hampton Court Palace on Sunday morning. Although Covid-19 was becoming more and more serious - I was still blindsided on the 18th of March to learn that schools would be closing their doors and the inevitable lockdown of the country would occur. While feeling isolated and lonely yesterday, I reached out to my colleagues to ask them how they are coping after their first week working from home during isolation. Have a giggle, feel inspired and listen to their individual stories…
How have you stayed connected with your loved ones outside of your immediate household during isolation?
ALEX: I think I’ve probably stayed more connected with loved ones because of isolation, which is a weird contradiction of terms. I find myself going more and more old fashioned and picking up the phone rather than just responding to a text. I FaceTime my bestie in NZ, who I hadn’t seen in over two years; it felt a lot more real than a text.
My mum, currently stranded not in her home country, has taken to setting up a sort of family book club via WhatsApp and Zoom – to be honest, I tend to avoid my mum’s messages, but by default, I’ve taken to this. I haven’t started the book yet, so our first online chat may just test my acting skills – maybe I’ll download the audiobook instead?
How are you keeping productivity levels high during isolation?
NATHAN: The only way I have a hope of maintaining any sort of productivity is by creating routines and boundaries for myself. In our normal office setting this is generally much easier as you are in a physically different space to your home, and as such have generally less distractions. The first thing that I have done is set up an office space in my spare room. This has now become exclusively a place of work. The second I step into that room, psychologically I switch into ‘work mode’. Secondly, I have set up a strict timetable that determines my start time, lunch break, and finish time. I ensure that I am up, showered, dressed, and at my desk on time, just as I would in the normal office.
In my new office space, I have ensured that the space is tidy and free of clutter. I have made sure there are no books, tvs, computer games, sports equipment etc that I could use to distract myself from work. I do everything I can to ensure that my work space stays exclusively that – for example if I need to take/make a personal call, I leave my office. I also ensure that I only conduct work in my office – that way I can maintain a good balance of work and relaxation in my own home. Finally, I ensure that I set myself tasks, goals, and create lists to complete to ensure I stay focussed and on task. I schedule all meetings in my calendar as normal, and use this alongside my lists to keep on top of my daily tasks. Before finishing every day, I review what I have done, and set myself up with new tasks for the following day which I will review the next morning when I start a new shift.
How have you adjusted to parenting full-time while working from home during isolation?
JOANNA: I love being at home with my little one. This is not a huge adjustment for me but my husband on the other hand has been thrown into a whole whirlwind of unknown. He doesn’t seem to have the same ‘patience’ as I do and he is finding it difficult to be at home but I on the other hand have routines and stick to them. Of course these do not always go to plan and as soon as I turn my back for 5 seconds my workstation set up is a new toy to play with including mummy’s notebook and pen as they are far more exciting than the colour books and crayons she has.
How do you separate your work space from home space during isolation?
ASHLEY: I share a flat with my partner, Tim. It’s a lovely one- bedroom flat but it’s not really conducive to a home office. My options for a work space are limited to the kitchen table or…the kitchen table. I’ve got a small lap top with accessories (mouse and chords etc.) and I’m much more productive with an additional large computer screen so I have that too. Once you add a notebook, pens, coffee cup, and a water bottle it’s officially an office space. Every night I take it all down and place it in a storage drawer in the living room cabinet. It sounds like a bit of work but having that mental separation between home and office has been really key in switching off each evening and starting each day with right mind set.
Do you have any tips for cooking and managing your diet during isolation?
ERICA: My husband and I really enjoy cooking, so we’ve used this time to our advantage for recipes and meal-planning. Grocery shopping does require a bit of patience at the moment, never knowing what stores will and won’t have in stock at any given time. On a positive note, this has actually given me a newfound appreciation for groceries that I otherwise would have taken for granted. We are focusing on eating well and avoiding sugary, over-processed foods to maintain good mental health and avoid energy crashes. Check out our latest creation: Eggs baked in hash browns à la Gordon Ramsay!
How are you and your significant other adjusting to being with each other 24/7 during isolation?
MARY: Things are going well (so far lol) being isolated with my partner. The first couple of days definitely took some getting used to, but we’ve quickly learned it’s all about getting into a routine and sticking to it. There were some challenges at the beginning, as my partner has been furloughed, which means he’s not working, and of course I am, which means he has much more time on his hands.
At the beginning he was very bored, (and loved to annoy me). Now we’ve developed a routine which allows me to work (in peace lol) and he’s taken up new hobbies to keep himself occupied. We make sure we do our work outs together every lunch time, cook dinner together, play board games, and we’ve also decided to learn a new Language-Spanish! We have to stay positive during this weird time, and I would never get to spend this much time with him normally which is really lovely. It’s important to be around your loved ones and support them as best you can during this lockdown. I mean, its only day 9 into isolation, ask me again in a month and I may have a different answer.
How are you looking after your well-being during isolation?
LEON: Staying at home during isolation for me is a big challenge, as mentally you can sometimes feel trapped. Luckily for me, I share a work space with my brother which is great for both of us as it means we have someone to talk to and have a laugh with which boosts morale – this is very important!
I also suggest saving as much energy (mentally and physically) during the day for a run after work – therefore, releasing all your energy, clearing your mind and airways and getting that much needed fresh air! Running after work also means that you don’t have to worry about getting back home in time for your shift to start in the morning or your lunch break to finish. Also, you might feel dirty and would want to shower whilst you’re thinking about missed telephone calls from candidates, clients and colleagues; and responding to emails promptly etc.
How do I take care of my physical health during isolation?
ME: During our first week of isolation, I ran daily (while maintaining social distancing) and practiced various HIIT and Yoga sessions online without a schedule or a routine. This was okay, but I was boredom eating - so much food, all of the food, and all of the bad food! This needed to stop, so my housemate and I developed a tight eating and training schedule which we love! We are so much more focussed and disciplined while working at home during isolation. Take a peek below at our week - weekends are absolutely for cheating though!!
We're All in This Together
When isolation feels lonely, boring or you are just fed-up, please remember that we really are all in this together. We are doing the right thing and protecting our community, saving lives and supporting the NHS.
Take care out there, from the Impact Family…