I’m now outnumbered 3-1, and if you include Barney the dog, 4-1! My once peaceful, calming workspace is now, well, no more. My domain, my patch, has been invaded by my two boys and now my partner, who is also working from home temporarily. Even worse, he has had the cheek to base himself from MY office!!! He trumps me as he works full-time, but so has commandeered my desk and is slowly killing my plants.
Of course, I do know how lucky we are to be able to do this, as many people are still commuting and working in their usual workplaces. Or even worse, are not even able to work at all. For many it is a very isolating and lonely experience particularly if you live on your own. My work is flexible enough that I can home-school the kids (well, sort of), but it has been a big adjustment for all of us.
I have run my own business from home for the past four years. I have a routine, my own office space, and it’s quiet if I want it to be, or I can have the music on if that’s what’s needed for inspiration and motivation. In contrast, my base is now the dining table, albeit with a great view of the back garden and a southerly aspect, but it is far too close to the kettle and biscuit bin. I am working, in between teaching pi to a nearly-11 year old and trying to understand poetry again. I never liked these subjects first time round and I find myself secretly googling how to do things late the night before.
And I’ll admit it’s been hard to adjust not just to the amount of people and noise, but to the huge pressure it puts on our 5mb wifi – village life. To help with our new reality, we have introduced new rules in the hope we can create some sort of new harmony, prevent the children from going completely feral and restore wifi peace.
There are set times that we start lessons and they pick which tasks they wish to focus on, and we all understand that if there’s a video conference call we all have to stop using devices. Sometimes there are computer games in the day. We eat lunch in the garden and often go for an afternoon walk if we want. The family member that is definitely enjoying this situation the most is, of course, the dog. He absolutely loves having us all at home, his pack is together and there are 4 people to choose from when he decides it’s time to play catch.
We are adapting.
In fact, I would almost go so far to say that I like the slower pace of life. There’s joy in not having the daily pandemonium to leave the house at 7.45 for the school run. Instead, I can have a quiet cup of tea in the garden before the kids get up.
We are spending much more time with the children. We have probably never eaten as many meals together, and we are playing more games and going out walking together. I’m sure people we meet on those walks are more friendly, pleased as we all are that we can get some social interaction, albeit from a distance. But there are obviously lots of things I miss, like family and friends, and I do look forward to the day things return to “normal”. Or whatever this new normal may look like. But I’m hoping we can take some of this with us, as in spite of the challenges and the cabin fever, there has been some positives for us. I don’t know how we will find it, or even what it will look like, but there is a part of me that is looking forward to our new normal.
Claire set up Clairical, a Virtual Assistant business four years ago. In that time the business has grown to provide support for a variety of clients from data management to business coaching. Many years of working in senior office management positions in the private and public sectors have enabled her to gain numerous skills and experience. Combined with a degree in Business Management, Prince2 qualification, and a Professional Certificate in Social Media from the IDM, your business is in safe hands. When not working you will find Claire at the local cricket ground watching a game (or making cricket teas), walking our Cavapoo, Barney and generally being kept busy by her two very active boys.