Me, Myself and Covid19
Please bear with me. I am (still) a bit sick.
For the past 5 days I have been self-isolating alone in my city centre flat.
Working from home is nothing new to me. But it usually comes with the freedom to, you know, live normally. Go outside and see people, work remotely in coffee shops and shared offices. But that was two weeks ago – this is now!
But today dawned with a new note of revitalising optimism. The worst is behind, and I’m on the mend. Almost a week of coughing, aching, fever-dreaming and generally feeling miserable seems to have hit rock-bottom and begun to bounce back.
While I can’t speak for the wider world, the industry or the economy, this is what I’ve found out so far about the ‘isolation lifestyle’…
The symptoms are rough but not terrible
It’s a flu – it’s never going to be fun. But as a 29 year old man in fair-to-middling health, it really isn’t worth getting worried about. I expected the cough and patchy fever but hadn’t expected achey arms and legs! No worse than the burn from an average workout, which is one thing you won’t be doing much of…
After 4 days of feeling increasingly rotten, the worst appears to be behind. I credit this to a homemade concoction of Alka-Seltzer and Berocca, but whatever you choose, ensure you get as much water and vitamins inside you as possible.
Conference calls will take over your life
Calls to start the day, calls to end the day, calls throughout the day – these are going to become your life! Nothing is as good as in-person connection, but keep your camera on and make sure to have a bit of social time at the start and end of these calls. If you aren’t seeing any humans for 7-14 days, you need these little bits of normality, not just business conversation.
You’ll know you’re fully living the ‘isolation lifestyle’ when you dial out of your last conference call, pass out on the sofa, and dial into your dreams where your colleagues are waiting (yes, this happened…).
Also - your home internet will be tested. If you have unlimited 4G on your phone, now might be a good time to test this out, as everyone in the world tries to get online at the same time!
Dial out from Social Media, News, Radio
Yes, the world is ending. Only it isn’t. But if you hear about it non-stop, you’ll begin to believe it is.
There’s only so much news and negativity the human brain can compute before it starts to collapse on itself, so set yourself your tasks for the day and go at them, with your favourite playlist on in the background. Check the news once or twice a day, no more!
Instead, read a book – call a friend – or, better still, write a poorly planned blog post on your experiences.
Business is NOT as usual
Companies, employees, leaders, families – everyone is feeling the strain here.
Friends of mine have already lost jobs. Many people will go on to lose much more.
There is a time and place to push ahead with business as usual, this is not it. It is not worth burning the bridges that we will all need to recover from this, panicked over a short term goal.
I’m fortunate to have a wealth of relevant information and guidance to share with my contacts, and will continue to do so. But at the centre of all outreach will be empathy, flexibility, and the mutual understanding that ‘we are all in this together’.
Both literally and figuratively.
Open a window. Throw those curtains wide. Don’t get cooped up in your home office – your body will thank you for a short walk, stretch, a bit of gardening on your lunch break. I always feel so much happier in the sun, and what works for your mind works for your body.
And don’t be afraid to have short video calls with colleagues to laugh about it all. Humour is a sustaining virtue in dark times – as long as you aren’t crossing the line. A bit of typical British self-deprecation is my forte.
Get some perspective.
What this situation has taught me so far, is how lucky and privileged we were as a society to enjoy such freedoms in travel and business. Many ‘pressing issues’ I had in 2019 have been suddenly forced into stark perspective as we are faced with a very real and complex situation.
Work-life balance is front of my mind as well. We might all be self-isolating now, but, in reality, many have been isolating themselves for decades; isolating themselves from their community, even from their family, with an ‘always on’ attitude to work.
Sometimes it takes an event like this to truly bring people together – even if only virtually – and remember what is really important in life!
There is no avoiding the big picture here. But we can manage how we respond to it.
Be Nice – some people may not be visibly suffering, but don’t assume.
Keep Calm and Carry On – because virus hysteria is more damaging than the virus.
Take Care of Yourself – because you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.
Now I’m going to pop my last two paracetamols and get back to it.
Wash your hands you detty pig!