One Year On

March 20th, 2021, marks a full year since I packed up and left the office of Coventry University and set myself up in my spare room. I have a desk, screens, laptop, swivel chair, music, access to the kettle, windows that open, a reliable internet connection – everything I need to work.

I thought I’d share some stats of what I’ve been doing in this very unusual year ‘at’ work:

  • Three UK lockdowns – 4.28m positive Covid cases, and sadly over 126,000 deaths (to March 19, 2021)
  • Five failed attempts to meet up with family, one successful
  • Two remote/phone consultations with the hospital
  • School bubbles closed six times across two schools, whilst schools are meant to be open
  • One cancelled/postponed holiday
  • One home ‘office’ decorated and effectively lived in
  • 28 remote interviews (and a favourite question of mine – hint: I’m not using it at the moment, no spoilers for upcoming interviews there).
  • Onboarding of 10 new colleagues, remotely
  • Attended three leaving ‘events’
  • Two take away meals (yes, only two, in a whole year)
  • 0 (zero) take-away tea or cakes
  • Written 47 blog posts (including my 1,000th)
  • Spent more money on Lego and new vinyl LPs than I care to admit to
  • Watched far too much Netflix
  • Read lots of books, many for the 2nd or more time
  • Attended over 20 webinar or otherwise F2F events that have been delivered online. Not always able to focus or stay for the whole thing, but I tried
  • Reviewed and provided feedback on 5 CMALT portfolios

But what of ‘lockdown’? What of the pandemic?

Like many of you reading this, I’ve had enough of it. Whilst it’s a full year since we entered this ‘working at home’ thing, it’s well over a year since Covid-19 became a focus of my/our attention – since late January 2020 we were watching the developments and starting to plan what it would mean if some or all of us in the team or business were unable to attend the office.

I’m very proud of everything we did, from the planning to implementing the changes – we planned for being fully remote for six months, it was clearly a good solution as it’s still working a full 12 months later and I’m certain it’ll stand up to scrutiny for another 6-12 months too without changes.

What next? A return to the daily commute and open-plan office? I don’t know. While there are plans are for restrictions to ease across the country and eventually to return us to something vaguely resembling the ‘normal’ we knew before, I’m going to remain sceptical until I see it. Schools have re-opened yet teachers and school staff are no nearer being vaccinated. Hospital workers continue to be amazing but are getting an insultingly low pay rise, etc, etc. Some things don’t change, it seems.

Increasingly I shied away from the news as much as possible – Trump, Brexit, Harry & Megan, vaccines, climate, Boris, etc … I found myself doomscrolling more and more, desperate to find something other than the above to read and keep me occupied. Whilst some find it therapeutic to read and discuss the news, I found it increasingly frustrating, indeed insulting, at how we, the population, have been treated … there, you got me talking about it!!

What about the next year? Hell, what about the next month? As it stands, restrictions in the UK are set to be lifted in a phased return to ‘normal’. Whether we can trust the plans which seem to go against the science and (currently) rising cases is for another day (I don’t have the energy to argue that one out!), but there is a strong possibility of returning to the commute and office again in some form or another.

All in all, I think I’ve done as well as can be expected over the last year, as have we all. There are many stories of strain, pressure, loss, etc to be told, and I’m sad to think there will be many more yet to come too. Where we go from here is up to each of us, even if we don’t yet feel it.

Stay strong. Stay safe.

Photo by CHIRAG K on Unsplash