When you work in an office adorned with illustrations of wrestlers and with a moose’s head staring watchfully over you at all times, there’s not much that can put you off work.
But during the enforced, extended work from home period, the Alive team has been no different to so many others in having to create and conjure spaces to be able to carry on being creative and productive.
So we wanted to share some of the more colourful, revealing and smelly reflections on our WFH existence..
Planes, trains and automobiles no more
As told by Alan (Director)
Before lockdown I regularly said that I needed to work from home more often. Strangely, I haven’t said that for the last few months.
Lockdown and working from home have meant that time together in the office has disappeared. I miss it and everyone.
But I wasn’t always in the office and could regularly be found working from planes, trains, automobiles, coffee shops, service stations, hotels and any other place that I happened to find myself. This has also disappeared. I’m more than ok with travelling less and I’m happy in my own company (most of the time). But I have struggled with the lack of physical movement that a normal day gives. I try to bookend my day with a walk with Winston (my dog) to help with this.
Working from home days regularly start early. I like to get through a few things before others are online. Also, Alex and I meet (virtually) early to plan the day ahead. There are many positives to come out of this way of working…
- More project focused meetings
- Loads of ideas being shared in our slack channels
- The team spending more time with families particularly those with young children
I’m lucky enough to have a small space where I can work from which has cactus wallpaper. People seem to like! It reminds me a little of the office wall graphics and coat stands. There’s been a couple of occasions when I’ve had to duck out the way on a call so that a photo can be taken of it. When I can I work outside – it makes me feel better and helps with my wellbeing. Occasionally I work in the kitchen but I have to move when Alfie (my 18 year old son) gets up for breakfast, usually around 2pm.
WFH or WTF? WFH. For now.
Budgies and bras
As told by Laura (Animation)
My computer is in the living room and my internet is shit half the time. I live with one yapping puppy, one loud budgie and one NHS worker who gets frustrated if dinner isn’t on the table when she gets home. Fair play when you’ve been working 10 straight hours with the public. There’s also one annoying neighbour that cuts her grass every bloody day and shouts when FaceTiming people from her garden.
They say act as if you’re going into the office when you’re working from home. Maintain structure. Keep to a routine. I agree with this. Apart from one thing…When working at Alive HQ, as soon as I got home I would whip my bra off. That’s my ‘I can relax’ moment after a long day at work.
At home, I’ve found myself doing that earlier and earlier. I do love the freedom going bra-free allows, and it’s much more comfortable. But I’ve forced myself to keep that aspect of normality by putting it on every morning, just to keep the routine, even though I know I’m going be throwing it off in an hour.We know it’s the little things that matter. And in lockdown, my bra has become an important symbol of freedom for me.
Sights and smells of WFH
As told by James (Comms and Content)
I started off lockdown with a three-month-old baby who did not a lot else but glug milk. She’s now seven months and counting, scoffing food like she doesn’t know when she’ll next get a supermarket delivery slot (she’s learnt fast) and yabbering away like a trooper.
To be able to work from home, I’ve had to squat and co-share her nursery. Initially I had it to myself, while she slept in our room, so only had to accept the Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star ‘motivational’ wall graphics.
But since she’s moved into her cot in the room, I’ve become increasingly marginalised, squeezed into a corner so that means my Zoom calls are framed by elephant curtains and a sheep mobile. And with my desk being adjacent to the changing table, the fragrances and vistas from my chair are varied and occasionally alarming.
At least I’m next to a window to gulp fresh air when I need to.
Rhythm … and blues
As told by Ally (Digital and Projects)
I am used to working from home. I’ve done it for over 12 years and have learned how to work in busy coffee shops and even in the car when we’ve had tradesman in and I’ve needed home wifi!
Working from the dining room table was my peaceful oasis. A bright room, lots of space and the radio playing some chilled tunes. The dog curled up at my feet, hot cups of coffee and the most important aspect .. time to think. You get the picture. So I didn’t think lockdown would affect me that much. Oh how wrong was I??
Now my home office is a table for three. The rhythm of the house feels more like a head banging heavy metal concert. The dog seems to be barking loudly at every passer by and weirdly there seems to be more visitors and deliveries than normal to keep my fur baby on his toes and his vocal chords busy.
My workspace isn’t cacti, illustrations and lots of banter. It’s now a sea of revision books and pieces of paper. A place where a pen thief has taken up residency and we play an endless games of pass the parcel of laptop use with the loser making their annoyance clear. (That’s if they actually want to do any work at all that is.) And the banter – if you can call it that – is more a loud groaning.
But in equal measures those increased noise levels have seen me watching the children interview each other, be performers, sing loudly, be creative, dance freely and belly laugh at Tik Tok’s and silly memes. ‘Slowdown’ hasn’t been all bad.
My Secret Garden
As told by Caroline (Comms and Content)
We talk a lot about where we’re most creative. For me, It’s certainly not in the lounge with the 4 year old, watching Paw Patrol. And it’s not upstairs with the 11 year old belting out Hungry Eyes for the 100th time.
I’m lucky enough to have space outside. When I moved in here 8 years ago, I created ‘The Secret Garden’. A place for the kids to enjoy time outside with their mates. Ha! Who was I kidding?! They’re like vampires, aren’t they? They shrivel at the slightest sign of day light and coil at the though of fresh air. And who benefits from that? Me!
That Secret Garden is all mine now. And I relish the moments I get to sit there, just being. Hiding. Letting thoughts flow, ideas shape and words happen. It’s not long before I’m found by the small crack team of children desperate for more snacks, more attention and more noise. But I’ll take what I can get.
Working from home sucks at times. But I’ve found a place where I can enjoy nature, gobble up fresh air, think and breathe. And that’s vital for my own mental wellbeing.