Released On 18th Feb 2021
Ally's blog: How did we do that?
This week my employer sent out a fairly lengthy questionnaire to everyone in the firm to ask us about how we thought we might want to work once the pandemic restrictions are no longer in place. It’s an interesting question - given a blank page, how would I want my work life set up to be? They say it takes 6 weeks to form a habit and perhaps that’s all the commute and office life was - something we’d got used to and did on autopilot? Now we’ve shaken it off, will we go back to it?
Last time I gushed how much I was missing office life. Yes, I wrote in my questionnaire responses, of course, I’d like to be back in the office for a couple of days a week. But even just writing that, I could feel a slight surge of panic as I contemplated the practicalities of heading into the office - getting up, dressed, out and half-way across London. I haven’t been on the Northern line for close to a year now. I kid you not, one morning last week I’d left myself just 10 minutes to get from my yoga class (via zoom, on a mat on the bedroom floor), showered and dressed for my 9am meeting in my “office” in the next room. Reader, I did not make it - at least not in a presentable state to switch the camera on - just about managed pants on, logged on. More than once in the last few weeks, I’ve arrived at a shop (essentials only) without my purse. It’s like my brain can only manage “house keys, face mask” then gives up. Please tell me I’m not alone in this? The me from a year ago would have been showered, blow-dried, kids dropped at school, in an outfit not described as comfort wear, sporting proper shoes and in the office (with my purse) at a decent time, possibly having done a spin class on the way. Who even was that person? How did we manage to do all that? my friend and I ask ourselves as we plod round the local woods once again. How did we do all that stuff?
On a WhatsApp group, we’ve joked (half-joked) about how our children will come out of this after staring at screens non-stop and no dental visits for 12 months. They’ll be short-sighted with black teeth, no social skills and no sporting skills except for an ability to walk round the local park in an endless, daily loop. Although their skills at adding comedy effects and cat filters on Team meetings will be impeccable.
I guess we will all have to re-learn how to do things. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can adapt to change. And hopefully one day soon we’ll look back, over a cocktail in a fancy bar in town, and say - how did we manage to do all that? How did we get through those lockdowns and home-schooling and working from home and keeping the family going with no visits to friends or family or exciting trips or holidays? We’ll look back and say - wow, we were pretty amazing.
Ally is a lawyer working 3 days a week in the City (via the spare bedroom), with 2 amazing and entertaining daughters aged 10 and 12.