Coronavirus Challenge Day 9

Tuesday 24th March 2020 — the first day of UK lockdown

I got off the bus on Monday night and as I walked across my local supermarket car park I watched the sun fall

My mind goes back to my waking moments of Monday 16th March 2020 when I wondered what the world outside would be. A week on Boris announced that the UK would be in lockdown from immediate effect. I wondered how that would be different when I awoke this morning.

There was some confusion about who would be going into work and who wouldn’t. I decided to continue my routine. It seems quieter outside yet as I walked to the bus stop there was still traffic, not heavy but enough to think ‘there are still people on the move’.

It was as I was wondering whether the bus would be coming that my ex pulled up and offered me a lift to the station. I then noticed the bus behind her. I relented to her request and took the lift. I quite enjoyed the conversation which focussed as most do these days on ‘the Coronavirus’. I jumped out at the station and thought, “ Well there is another positive from this difficult time.” I felt we talked as two acquaintances and that was progressive.

The station was almost deserted although I noticed that construction was still continuing on the station refurb. There goes the contradictions we live in. I began receiving messages that it was likely offices would be closed and people would be working from home. I continued on as I was now on the train.

I mentioned previously that I had concern for our union members working on the front line so I thought this was a right move to close offices. It is not clear whether our members in the Government-run part of the service have received the same directive.

It wasn't long before I was heading back to the station from which I had just arrived.

I have reservations about this notion WFH. That seems to be the acronym for ‘Working From Home’. When I first saw it I thought the friend was swearing.

I understand in certain circumstances it can help. At this point, I will also say that as there 360 degrees in a circle so I am only one degree in this perspective though nonetheless a perspective.

In this present lockdown, I understand why there is WFH however it needs to be understood that our homes are our homes not an extension of corporate property. I also believe that should be acknowledged as I hear from some sectors that people are still spoken to as if they were in the workplace. I don’t think that is right. If people are WFH certainly as a result of this lockdown corporations need to be grateful and appreciative to them. Sensitivity needs to be exercised as in one sense corporations have become guests into our private space. Guests behave politely and recognise that they are visitors in another’s home maybe not ‘invited guests’ but guests due to an emergency.

I believe that an allowance should be paid for WFH just as it is in some sectors for use of your car or for meals.

The Coronavirus has meant that we have had to respond to its threat. It has changed us, it is changing us and some of these changes will be ushering in new cultures. We need to remain mindful of what is good for us and the power dynamics which are always at work but even more so now. Coronavirus will be used to justify many things we need to be discerning of the many things and which are for our good.

WFH requires a new routine and as many are finding it is not as easy as some would want us to think. Pets find it difficult to understand ‘You are trying to work’ and indeed so to other residents of your household particularly given that most of us are now ‘at home’. I applauded the recognition by one local authority that people may experience relationship difficulties due to WFH including violence and gave numbers to contact.

We also don’t live with the same means which may mean that the kitchen table is the only place you can place a laptop while others are using the kitchen. Of course, there are not the health and safety considerations that should occur in the workplace, “Does this kitchen table chair comply with using a computer for long periods of time?” There are many additions to this including Data Protection, “ Did you just see what I was working on?”

As I say I am one degree in the 360 but a degree nonetheless.

I decided I would have lunch break and walk to my local pond. It was quiet with less traffic, people walking, the ducks quacking and what a beautiful day. I felt refreshed.

Boris said one form of exercise a day well I am afraid to cope with this I need to walk in the morning, lunchtime and early evening.

Radio 3 like most radio stations is trying to help us live at this time and I love what they are doing.

I tend not to watch the news until 10 00 pm. I listen to 7 00 am news on the radio. I found my concern growing as I heard 87 deaths in the UK yesterday.

That is startling. If that continued for 10 days that would be near on 1000 people dead. We seem to be living with two sides of this the positives stories and then the heartbreaking. I guess we do every day the difference is we are all aware as in the face of this common threat we become more aware of our common humanity.

best,

g

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