Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Surviving WFH - Week One

My last work post was about 'Being Equal and Valued', a positive piece that summed up how I felt about my hand in life.

I love my job, I love being valued. 

I love my home, I live in a little village in N Ireland and despite the rain, I love the tranquility and almost quaintness about it, but I crave the hustle and bustle of my job.

For the last 15 years I have travelled a lot. At least 3 weeks out of 4, I will be in London for 2 or 3 nights and then the other week I will be further afield speaking at a conference somewhere.

I own my diary and I make it work for me. I am the luckiest mum in the world, my daughter is my best friend and I see her at least once a month. I add a day's leave here and there and get some wonderful long weekends and if there is any chance of a dive somewhere I take it.

I love the logistic planning, what suitcase(s) do I need? What currency do I need? Complex itinerarys are my forte. I can be on the road for 3 weeks and manage it well.

I don't spend a lot of time in my home, and in fact if I stay anywhere for more than 5 consecutive nights I buy flowers, and that includes my house. I probably buy less than 10 bunches a year.

So this idea of Working From Home (WFH) is so alien to me. Physically it is no issue, I have been able to work from home since the late nineties. I have a second telephone line that was for my dial up modem, when I did on call support for customers. I have a beautiful office, built for my needs, I have everything I need. I sit at my desk and have a lovely view out over some fields, my house is higher than the road (lane with no road markings) and I can watch the odd tractor go by for distraction.

Last year I had a few sessions with an executive coach and she told me my strongest trait was the need to understand everything, and hated anything outside of that. So true, I hate magic, the circus, things I don't understand. In fact in my job my best skill is taking something, distilling it down to the simplest components and building the story back up whilst educating everyone else on it. I do that in meetings and presentations.

So not knowing what is going on is killing me.

I knew Coronavirus was bad, but it sort of sneaked up on me. It first affected me at the end of January. I was diving in Mexico and the day before the dive company announced if you had been in China you could cancel for free. Nothing for me to worry about. We had two guys from Singapore on our boat but they had been in the States for a few weeks before the trip, so again no issue. We had no internet for 9 days and when we got back to port, things had really kicked in. The two guys couldn't get back to Singapore as their airline had stopped flying.

I came back to Europe and attending a training course in Madrid,Spain, even then it wasn't too bad. Italy was just realising they had a small problem. Two weeks later Milan was on lock down and and I was back in Madrid for another workshop. We all arrived on the Sunday but Monday morning we had an email from Head Office to say no more international travel. We stayed, we were already there, but knew things were getting serious.

When I got home that weekend, I was still meant to be in London from the Tuesday, Dublin on Wednesday for a conference and back to London. On Monday the event in Dublin was cancelled and I was told I couldn't travel to London, so I cancelled all flights for the week. I argued that Belfast to London was not international travel, and actually escalated it to the right person who agreed with me, but by then it was too late. On Friday he emailed me direct to say, domestic travel was also out!

So a week at home I didn't expect. Good chance to catch up on a few things, went to a Marine Life meeting, and meet a few friends in coffee shops. 

No comments: