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The Lockdown Diaries – Sheilagh Suthanthiran

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As we were finishing for the day on Monday 23 March, I remember having conversations with colleagues about whether we should take the contents of our in-trays home with us.  “Oh no!” we agreed, “we’ll be given at least 24-hours’ notice before they lock everything down.” How little we knew then!

Garden table at the ready

Whenever I have tried to journal about the pandemic and resulting lockdown, my internal narration has sounded very much like the pitch for a (bad) film script.

At 8am Tuesday 24 March, the garden table had been hauled up to the front bedroom, the outdoor chair was suitably padded, and I was ready to go. Fortunately, the ‘working from home’ trials we had all been encouraged to take in the previous weeks meant everything logged on just as it should.

The most frustrating thing has been having to stop and think about how to do things that are usually second nature. Conversely though, figuring them out, then finding ways to improve them has also been quite rewarding. For example, I arranged with the partner who usually dictates work to send me photos of their handwritten notes instead.

Video call dress code

Week two brought the startling realisation that sweatshirt, joggers and no make-up were a risk I really should not have taken when, what I thought would be a phone call, turned out to be via TEAMS video … with two of the most glamorous staff members!

While the chat function has allowed us to do just that, I have missed sharing the laughter with my friends in the office−it always feels a little strange chuckling away in isolation.

Unexpected perks

With some staff being furloughed, I have picked up jobs I’ve never done before and can honestly say there has not been a quiet day for me since lockdown started. I have also shared knowledge, shortcuts, and tips on some of the software programs.

The weekly update messages, montages, quizzes, and competitions have provided welcome relief and have reinforced the caring ethos at Mercer & Hole. It would be nice to see this kind of thing continue once life has gone back to normal, after all surely if I keep entering the competitions, I’m bound to win one someday!

That Co-worker

My husband and I fell into the routine of bi-hourly wellness checks and took our state-mandated trip around the exercise yard every lunchtime. Meanwhile, the cat we share with our neighbour became that co-worker who gets blamed for every issue…

I started working back in the MK office at the beginning of June. While it’s nice to get back into a normal routine and have everything I need around me, I am trying to retain some of the habits formed while I worked from home−­­although there’s never a cat around here when you need to blame one!

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