#WFH during the coronavirus pandemic - committee reflections - Susan Gordon
During the UK lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus, we hear from the committee in a series of blog reflections. Next up, we hear from Susan Gordon, a self-employed coach and HR professional.
Susan Gordon (AXIS mentoring lead) - 20th April 2020
Being a freelancer, I am used to working from home – to a certain extent and on my own terms. I love to meet people face-to-face and up until the ‘lockdown’, that was my preferred method of working. Then overnight, everything changed. My business practically dried up and the clients who are continuing are doing so online. I found that I not only had to get myself up to speed on the technology PDQ, but I had to teach many of my clients as well. Talk about being half a step ahead!
As a director of a small business, I had to make a decision on whether to continue working or furlough myself…a difficult economic choice as I am the only income generator in our household. I decided to keep operating. I have some clients who continue to need me and anyway, I can’t just sit and do nothing – so I’ll crack on and hope that somehow the financials work themselves out.
To start with, my emotions were all over the place. Then I came across a really great HBR article that helped me put things in perspective – have a read, maybe you will find it helpful too.
I have been interested to see the various pieces of advice that come out about adjusting to WFH. I have to say some work for me, and some don’t. For example:
- Tip 1 - Set up your working space: We were getting some work done to our house when this kicked off and now live in a building site. I had to move from where I normally worked for that. Then I gave that space up to my son who is studying for his final university exams. Better that he has somewhere other than his room to work in 24/7. This ultimately means that I am perched at various tables, desks, sofas… Thank goodness that you can blur out the background in some of the online meetings!
- Tip 2: Set a routine: I’ve decided that my routine is no set routine! Given that I have to accommodate my clients’ needs first, it’s meant that I have not been able to set a daily work pattern. And trying to get a 16 year-old with no Highers to study for out of bed before midday is a challenge in itself. I found this LinkedIn article by Sandra Voyadzis a catalyst to reposition my thinking about my own productivity.
- Anyway, what I do ensure is that each day I complete whatever work I deem to be important plus fit in ‘me’ time. Another change from before with more of a recognition of the need for self-care.
No one is giving out medals for finding a new way of working just now, we’re all finding our way – just be kind to yourself and do what works for you and yours. Don’t feel guilty if it’s not what others think you ‘should’ do.
To end on a positive…this WFH malarkey has had some lovely moments:
- We have an evening meal together as a family. (We had got into the habit of different eating times depending on work and life commitments.)
- Every day is a ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ day – with mostly good results!
- I have a daily walk with my husband - every day. We are lucky to live somewhere that there is plenty of space and we can social distance and enjoy nature in the spring.
- And most of all, we are well and hugely grateful for that.
Stay home, stay safe.