Day two | Navigating the new normal

Jane Reid | Teaching and Learning Manager (PgCert) | The AUA

In my current job, I rarely work from home despite my role working on a blended learning programme being quite suited to it. I enjoy working in an open plan office, I enjoy the variety of our office discussions, the sharing of ideas and the endless brew rounds. I also benefit from the structure of having to get up, get showered and get dressed for my 40 minute walk to work everyday listening to my favourite podcasts.

I’m sure you’re all still in the midst of navigating the new foreseeable ‘normal’ and if you’re anything like me and now working from home you might even be feeling slightly ‘over connected’ as face-to-face colleagues have been replaced by faces and instant ‘chat’ through platforms such as Teams, Zoom and desktop WhatsApp. Not to mention keeping up with your regular old fashioned email inbox and trying to focus on getting work done!

I’m finding productively has not yet reached its usual levels and while I’m sure your first thought might be step away from the Netflix, Instagram scrolling and tea breaks, they’ve barely had a sniff out of me in the last few days!

What I am noticing though is that as I live on my own, there’s been the extra ‘check ins’ from friends and family who aren’t usually inclined to call me that often.  It’s lovely; they’re looking out for me, especially as I face the prospect of my own company 24/7. I can’t help feeling, though, that this also seems to be accompanied by the impression that I am now ‘available’ at all times because of my new working from home status.

I am fully aware, of course, that the beauty of technology is that I have the ability to not answer the phone/videocall/instant message. However, it feels like now more than ever that answering that call is a touch more important than normal and might just mean that someone else feels a little less isolated or overwhelmed with everything that’s going on. We’re all just coping any way we can.

I’m sure I’ll adjust to my new office environment, this being only Day 2 after all. At the moment I’m feeling very grateful that I work in a role and an organisation where working from home is possible and with a team that are all so supportive of each other. It’s really shown me how good we are at looking out for each other and also how exceptionally good my colleagues are at finding memes and YouTube clips at the drop of a hat to add to our very active WhatsApp group chat.

I realise it’s early days and we won’t yet know the full extent of the continued effects the coronavirus will have on HE, but hearing from my students and colleagues across the sector in the last few days has highlighted more than ever our ability to adapt and react, with the shared understanding that we are all facing the same issues and challenges.

For now, I’m taking each day as it comes, like everyone, and I know I am lucky that I can be here surrounded by my many, many house plants – it’s also pretty nice being able to wear slippers at my desk.

Tips for working from home? You’ll have to leave that one with me…

Want to tell us about your WFH exerience? get in touch!

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