Released On 6th Dec 2020
Ruth's blog: A day in the life from 2020…
I am not new to home working, but COVID-19 has brought the experience to another level to my colleagues and family. My partner and I are now professional children-and-work-jugglers (no fancy costumes yet, but we are working on it); we both have pretty busy jobs and two pre-school aged children, so finding the right work/life balance at home has been trial and (much) error.
Seeing lockdown looming, and keen to protect the health of its workforce and clients, my company put a plan in place and did some remote working test days so that when the announcement came we would be ready. And then it happened. Did I feel ready? For work: yes. For anything else: no.
At home we planned our work shifts with military precision. I spread my four-day hours into five as we launched home nursery – the children chose to call themselves the Squirrels (any ‘Hey Duggee’ fans reading this?). And it was hard, being at home, all day, every day: working to the constant soundtrack of confused children, entertaining them and stopping one of them climbing up to the kettle, no outings, no friends to play with, still cold in the garden, so many meals to prep and clear up - and so much mess!
Gradually we found our way. The children got used to being home-based. We taught our daughter to ride her big bike with pedals on our deserted street and we taught our son to ride a scooter. We did local walks to see the trains and buses, spent garden time hunting for woodlice as the weather improved, and waved at friends from the end of their garden path. And for us? Secret desk biscuits, a nice glass of something when the children are in bed, video calling family, Zoom wine tastings and Book Group, and some distanced walks in the light evenings with friends.
And work? That was the easier part. I already had the IT equipment required from regular home working days. We video call with colleagues regularly, have online video training and staff meetings. The ability to work whatever days and times best suit means that I can get my work done in the manner that is most productive for me and maintains a high quality client experience – for clients who are also at home, facing the same challenges.
As the year has gone on, and schools and nurseries reopened, we managed some summer day trips and a camping weekend. I even had a family birthday party with an amazing cake. It is so lovely now, when it’s cold and wet, to remember running around outside and paddling in streams when it was so hot.
Do I miss the office? I miss working in the same room as my colleagues discussing work, celebrating birthdays and milestones. But I have had more time with my family than I would ever have thought possible. Who knows how working life will develop next? I don’t, but I do know that I can handle big change better than I thought. As long as there are still biscuits in my secret stash. And Disney+.
Ruth works 4 days per week in a central London accounting & tax firm. She lives in South West London with her husband, two children aged 5 and 2 and a tank of tropical fish.