August 25, 2020
It is August now and the UK has been in lockdown/social distancing since March. When we were told that we were going to start working from home I never imagined that we’d still be here five months later. The world that we started 2020 in is no longer the world we are in now.
The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc and devastation across the globe, and it has been a scary and stressful time. Yet, through it all, elements of normal life have continued – the ‘new normal’ as we have come to call it. So, what is the new normal?
Overnight our worlds became tiny, confined to the four walls of our homes for 23 hours of the day – with an hour to go to the shops or exercise outside. Inevitably, this initiated some existential wonderings. Now that things have settled a little, I have taken a look back at the past few months.
The pandemic has brought lots of new words into our daily parlance, one of these is ‘Zoom’ – referring to the video calling software rather than a rapid movement - overnight, it became the replacement for in-person meetings.
With everyone working in their homes, these meetings developed a more personal edge as toddlers popped in and out, dogs barked, and photos or books lined the walls of our backgrounds. Suddenly everyone had something in common and ‘how are you?’ developed a new sincerity. This increased level of personal connection was necessary as real-life contact virtually disappeared; hopefully we can retain this.
Being unable to socialise or do very much at all has given me a new appreciation for my own time and I increasingly value the slower elements of life – exercising, cooking, reading, watching a film. I have become better at evaluating what is worth spending time on and what will take a lot of effort for little reward.
This applies to work too. Taking a moment to pause and re-evaluate a project that is taking up time but going nowhere, or to reconsider a well-worn approach from a different angle, might just reveal some new opportunities.
This year has been difficult, and hope has not always been easy to find but it is there, for example in things like ‘clap for carers’. In the height of lockdown, small things became so much more important - sunny days, going on runs outside in the less polluted air, seeing other people outdoors and carrying on. These all felt hopeful and showed that we are resilient. I have also been very grateful to have worked with clients who have remained cooperative and as cheerful as they can be as we’ve all rallied together and bonded over ‘making the best of it’.
As things begin to return to a version of normal, let’s try not to forget what we have learnt this year so far.