The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced lockdown measures back on March 23, 2020. The offices and laboratory facilities in Cranfield were closed and that marked the beginning of what has come to be the ‘working from home’. Before now, people often work from home just for a few days when they needed to attain to some home affairs and return back to the office but this one is different. The lockdown was set for review every 3 weeks, but there was really no set time when it will end. My experiences in the period are here briefly.
- Managing stress/anxiety
Through these days, tension comes to me mostly from emotional sources. Anxiety about what is going to happen to my experiment, all the things I needed to have done but haven’t and thought of what might happen if I don’t get to meet up. Then there is the worry about how my wife will fare back in my country and how she could stay safe avoiding being infected. I found myself, having to be planning her day, her movement and all sort. How I manage stress working during the lockdown? I would say, I was able to gain assurance and strength over time and got better, perhaps.
- Avoiding distractions
Bulk of my distractions come from social media, probably because I thought of it as a stress reliever. But there is also an obsession for cleaning; clean the room, the dishes, surfaces, suddenly the guy became so aware of how disorganize the room has been. So, I put my phones on silence, and throw them inside my bag when I am on the computer; off course, after I agree with my wife to talk at a set time. Did that work? hmmm.
- Staying healthy
There is field behind my house. I try to run around it, starting with going around once, adding another round the next day and so on. So far, I have pecked at four rounds. Though, it has been characterized by one week on and another week off; you know how it could be these days! I try to incorporate fruits in my meals and since I refused to take the bus, I had to make do with the store nearby whose prices are a bit high.
- Personal experience on loneliness
Before now, my routine mostly has been weeklong times in the lab and office, and weekend in fellowship with friends and their families. I love children and I get to play with my friends’ children a lot. Now I can’t; just a few video calls which doesn’t really do the magic. And about missing my wife! Don’t get me started. ‘Oh Lord the room couldn’t just be warm’.
- Relating with supervisor(s) generally
In all the meetings we have been having with the school authorities, this comes all the time, “speak with your supervisors”. Mine have been very supportive and persistent in pushing me hard to work. I could say, it’s been also another source of stress, perhaps. But I have grown to understand and appreciate all their efforts.
- Coping with new working environment
It’s been unprecedented, even though in the past, I often run from the distraction of the office into my room to read or write. However, the consciousness of the reality that this will be the new norm has been hard to grasped at a time. Yet, apart from restriction of access to the lab and the much-needed social interaction, there is really nothing that cannot be done from here.