The impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed our lives beyond recognition.  Globally, we're all being told to isolate, stay in bubbles and only venture outside if absolutely necessary.

For me, the overall impact of having to work from home has been a positive one.  Last year, and the beginning of this year, I really struggled with fatigue, constantly feeling exhausted and it was an effort to concentrate on anything, work or TV.  I used to work from home one day a week to try and alleviate my fatigue but it didn't really have much impact.  However, now that I'm working from home 5 days a week and not able to go anywhere, it feels like the fatigue has lifted, I have so much more energy and I'm able to concentrate better.

My sleep still isn't great - I still tend to wake in the middle of the night but I just put my podcasts on, or, if it's past 5 am, I'll get up.

Pre COVID-19 I would arrive home after work absolutely exhausted and starving hungry.  I'd have no energy to make anything nutritious and I'd collapse on the sofa with whatever I could find to eat and watch trash TV.  Since lockdown, I've loved that I can shutdown my laptop of an evening and eat dinner before I've reached the starving, must inhale stage.  I also have energy to do things in the evenings now and I've actually watched less TV since lockdown began than in the past few years.

Pre COVID-19 I struggled to get bigger pieces of work done - I'd have to book a meeting room at work so I could lock myself away in peace and quiet.  Now that I'm working from home, I can plan when to tackle the big pieces of work around meetings, knowing that I'm not going to be interrupted by the cacophony of a large open plan office.

COVID-19 has also given me time to pause and reflect.  I've been able to really think about things that haven't gone to plan, to issues that have arisen and to get creative and generate ideas.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm not busy - I am, this is the busiest I've been in a long time, however in my new daily routine I've built in space and time to think.  I used to do this when I went out for runs but that's not been possible for the past couple years.

The biggest downside of COVID-19 and working from home has been the lack of human contact.  By far, the thing I'm missing most is physical touch - it's been nearly two months since I've had a hug.  It's not just hugs though, it's just not the same holding virtual meetings and definitely not the same trying conduct virtual workshops.  Technology has enabled so much but, thankfully, it's no substitute for being with people.

It will be interesting to see how COVID-19 changes the way we work globally.  I truly hope we use this disruption, this pause, as a learning experience with companies reducing the amount of international travel, investing more in staff wellbeing and adopting a results only work environment.  There has to be some positives that come out of this pandemic.

For more about the future of work, here's a piece I wrote: The Future of Work Post COVID-19 
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