Lockdown may not be welcome but there are many positives
By Graeme Gordon, Praxity Executive Director
“How are you surviving lockdown?” is a question I hear a lot at the moment. Well, the truth is: “Quite well, thank you!”
I don’t want to trivialise the seriousness of the Covid situation and the inevitable recession. No-one can genuinely “like” the situation.
However, I have to admit, I am thriving under lockdown conditions, both physically and mentally. Moreover, myself and my team are performing better.
Physically, I owe much to my dog, Merlin, whom I have been compelled to walk each day. In January, Merlin was diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament in his left hind leg which required surgery. As part of his rehabilitation, we gradually increased the length of his walks from five minutes, four times a day to 60 minutes twice a day.
By the time lockdown occurred, Merlin and I were doing four 30-minute walks each day. This, I realise, broke the one-hour maximum exercise limit we had in England, but as he was recovering from the op, and given the fact we don’t meet anyone on our walks, I had no qualms about this.
He is fully recovered, but as a result we now tend to do a one-hour walk in the morning and 50 minutes after work. I also do a one-hour, one-to-one session with a personal trainer each Friday and I run at least 10k+ every Saturday. It means during lockdown I am the fittest I have been in decades and the lightest I have been since my late teens/early 20s.
There are lockdown benefits of working from home too. While I am actually quite fond of the Praxity office, a converted farmhouse near Epsom Racecourse, it happens to be a 90-minutes commute, mainly on the motorway. Avoiding that drive is definitely aiding my mental health.
Working solely from home and relying purely on online communication has also, remarkedly, meant that I have found myself more productive. In the office, I often find myself on a Friday with actions on my to-do list still there from the previous Monday. Whereas now, I have even, on the odd occasion, been able to attack some of the “nice-to-do-eventually” tasks.
The level of output from my team has increased too.
Brave new world
Now I am not, for one minute, advocating that we should maintain lockdown. Not all of us can, or even want to, work from home and I fully appreciate many people are trying to juggle homeworking with looking after young children or other relatives.
However, this period has proven, to me at least, that the most effective way of working, and the best form of “wellness” is to have the option to work remotely where appropriate. I believe this is going to be the new norm. Furthermore, those employers who expect all staff to eventually return to their previous desk spaces and work as before, will find that they are gravely mistaken.
The work life balance is now ingrained in all employees, not just the Millennials and Gen X. Us Baby Boomers have been forced to wake up to the benefits of doing things online. So, welcome to the Brave New World. Whilst it will not be utopia, I feel certain it will not be Waugh’s dystopia.