Having just finished my first week back at work following nearly six month on furlough, I’m finding a great deal has changed. And yet, it feels weirdly similar too.
Prior to our ‘new normal’ (have you grown to dislike that term as much as I have?) I was largely working odd hours, sat at my PC; keeping abreast of social media relating to HR and recruitment issues; with various pets for company; from my home office. I had a number of ‘To Do’ lists and regular phone chats with colleagues at Liberty HQ. I visited the office for catch-ups or events. I generally did what I could to make our on-line content as attractive and relevant (and yellow) as possible. I stopped only for a daily dog walk or to make dinner for the ‘Captain of Industry’ in my life, Jane.
Whilst on furlough I could still be found sitting at my PC/on my phone at all hours, keeping abreast of social media (although now usually music-related, squirrel/kitten-related or political/circus-related) and still with various pets for company. I continued to pause for dog walks and catering duties of course. And my ‘To Do’ lists involved jobs around the house instead of the work-related tasks from before. Yet I also took the time to sit back, greet the new-found-calm in my life with open arms and enjoy the weather. The stresses and strains of everyday working evaporated quickly. There was little we could do to affect the economic situation we found ourselves in and we hoped that we had done enough with the business to get us through. We were, in fact, fortunate in comparison to many others and remain so thankful for that.
My default position – tense with a hint of trepidation – was replaced with a new sense of calm resignation that all would, all things being considered, eventually turn out OK. The ensuing months were punctuated with the everyday highs and lows of lockdown life. We struggled to find toilet rolls, pasta and tinned tomatoes. I learned how to use ‘Zoom’ and my dad entered the modern world by finally getting to grips with Skype as a means to contact us…and decided to just show us the bottom-left-hand quarter of his face on a weekly basis!
We spent time walking in the sun; we planned to catch up on a few small jobs around the house; and watched in bemusement as the people leading the county ran around in ever-decreasing circles. We endured some illness, some stress and the inevitable box-sets. We also tragically lost a close family member and a dearly-loved pet during lockdown. Yet we also spent time together, thanking our lucky stars for the time we had been given in our own little bubble, despite everything else.
I am the last of the Liberty HR team to return to work and I’m thrilled. And now, back from furlough this week I am sitting at my PC. I’ve taken the dogs out for a walk every day; I’ve cooked dinners and ticked-off a few jobs on my ‘To Do’ lists. I have already written a few job adverts; I’m back on the ‘HR trail’ on social media and I’ve sharpened up some of the Liberty HR website content. I’ve even had a couple of chats with colleagues – all from a socially-sensible distance of course – and I am in a reflective mood.
During my enforced isolation I haven’t written my ‘difficult’ second novel; my regular blogging hasn’t even started; I haven’t researched my family tree or taken up poetry; my band hasn’t played a gig since February (and probably won’t for a long time yet); I haven’t fixed the shower or painted the dining-room; and I still haven’t worked out what Tik-Tok is all about. And most of all, I have missed my particular world of work greatly…go figure.
This year has been, putting it mildly, a challenge in so many ways for everyone. And the next six months at least, will continue in a similar way for many I’m sure. I’m working from home of course, but given the chaos and uncertainty all around, do I want just another day in the office?
You bet I do.