Well we got through day one of collective working from home. It’ll take some getting used to. Every time I thought of my colleagues I could only envisage them being on campus whilst I was the only one at home. My little brain couldn’t unconsciously bring itself to believe that almost *everyone* was working at home.
And it was a busy day. Really busy. I made a bit of a hash of the first 1:1 meeting I had with one my team members by wandering outside in the garden sunshine with my laptop only to be reminded that the wifi doesn’t extend beyond the washing line. I came back in and then we were interrupted by the whizzing washing machine. After that it was fine!
It was nice to see everyone on my screen in 1:1 and group meetings. And for day one we did make some progress. It was great to see everyone adapting to, and mastering, the technologies we’ve had for years but never actually had to rely upon until now. I now have two regular informal / optional group Skype catch-ups in the diary which people can dip in and out of as they wish – this will just help us keep in touch and ensure people don’t feel isolated, even if their ability to work normally is limited.
Yesterday the priority was making sure people were ok. In fact, throughout this whole period, this has to be the overriding concern. We can’t know how long it will last, and whilst work is important, the mental health, well-being and happiness of our colleagues and friends is more important. I think we’ve always instinctively known this, but now it is obvious.
One side effect I wasn’t expecting after day one was that my voice would be parched at the end of it. I think I instinctively talk louder or in a more laboured manner whilst on Skype. I’ll need to sort this out otherwise I’ll have no voice left at the end of the week!
Another side effect of working from home is the lack of walking required in my day. At work we are walking and exercising all the time. Think of your daily routine in simply getting to work – the walk, the public transport, even the walk from the car park to the office. As daft as it sounds, think about how far you walk to go to the toilet at work and compare that to the distance you walk in your own home. We’re constantly dashing to and from meetings, walking to buy our lunch or to the kitchen to make drinks. All of this has stopped and we need to compensate for it.
I am now committing to doing some form of exercise during every single meeting I have online. Even if it is only walking on the spot, or simply standing – this is better than sitting for hours on end. I may look daft, but I don’t mind and if it encourages others to do it, then it’ll be worth it.
Boris Johnson’s message probably came as little surprise to us all. In it he did say we could get outside for one form of exercise a day. So my advice is, make it count, particularly if you are now working from home. Don’t blow it on an amble around the block. Do whatever it takes to get your heart rate up and something that means you’re looking forward to a sit down at home at the end of it. And do it every single day in all weather.
Over a period of weeks, moving in your home and making your one outdoor exercise opportunity per day count will all add up to thousands of calories burnt, maintaining your levels of fitness and muscle strength, and protecting your well-being.
I’m off for my morning ‘commute’ which today will be in my (small) back garden as I’m saving my one outdoor / public exercise for 5.30pm – just like I do every Tuesday with my Green Heart Runners.