blog, Blog post, corona virus, working from home
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Working from home.

I’ve been asked by a couple of people to talk about how my 2 weeks self isolation have gone so far, what view I have on a further 12 weeks and what I am doing to handle the isolation.

If this is of any use to you then pass it on, and, of course, if you have anything to add then please do.

I’m going to start with a positive comment about negative people.

I’m fully prepared for those who think they know what’s best for me and the population as a whole. I’m prepared for the slurs. Well, those who know me will not be at all surprised when I say to those people “Go forth and multiply”. I shall delete any such comments and I’ll positively block all of those types.

OK. Let’s get on.

Here’s the reasons why I’ve chosen to self isolate and will continue to do so.

I’m 73. I’m a type 2 insulin dependant diabetic. I was diagnosed over 20 years ago. I have a couple of other health issues. In short, I am at the greater risk end of the “likely to die” scale should I contract Covid19, so I’m careful.

How have I managed in the 2 weeks so far?

I’ve been retired from full time employ for many years and my wife, being younger than me, hasn’t. This means I have had a long time to get used to being alone during the day. This current situation is an extension  of that ,with the added  tightening up in relation to physically contacting or being near other people.

In many ways, because I have no full time employment it’s easier for me. No clients, no hundreds of phone calls, no demands for meetings, nothing really pulls on my time, unless I want it to and I let it.

Going out.
I’ve stopped using public transport. I’ve watched other travellers and well… Their hygiene left lots to be desired. Please don’t ask.  If I want to survive, stopping all forms of public transport was/is a must. I would need a hazmat suit now to get on a bus hereabouts.

So far as I understand it, the “quarantine” spoken of, is not to stop you going out. It’s to stop you making physical contact or being near to other people; at least at present anyway. 

Where you live avoiding people may not be easy, possible even,  but  I live in Lincolnshire here on the Eastern side of England. There are tens of thousands of acres of space around here, including some on the coast, most of which have no people in them at all. I can travel there in my car (Mobile Isolation Bubble) and enjoy the freedom. 

I walk Bess, the Labrador, in the local woods which are just a few minutes drive from here. There are very, very few people there (so they’re easily avoided)  and there’s nothing to touch.

The upshot of this being,  I AM NOT HOUSEBOUND, nor should you be with a little forethought.

OK. It’s a given; no pubs, clubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas etc.  If you are gregarious that’s going to hurt. I can offer you no solutions to that because I have no experience on that score. I’m often solitary; in fact, I’m always solitary when I am taking pictures.

Now, that being said, pervesely, I like cities, a lot. If you are a street photographer that’s mainly your hunting ground. 

Again, you can still visit, at least at the moment, just don’t go near people and DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. Mask up and glove up if necessary.

How do I spend my day?

I walk Bess.

I spend hours in front of my Mac doing family history research, sometimes I have  e-mail  and/or verbal conversations with fellow researchers all over the world.

I spend hours editing images I have taken, updating web sites.

I also write.

I make real coffee on a Gaggia I bought years ago – best investment ever – and I make black tea which I put into a small flask for the afternoon.

I make and receive Skype and Whatsapp video calls.

Am I lonely? 

Rarely but it does happen. Some days are just crap. I use those bad hours for sleep.

Do I read? 

No. I use Audible to listen to books being read aloud. It’s something I’ve loved since I was a child when I would  listen to readings at school and plays on the radio at home. It’s something I can do whilst I’m photo-editing but not when I’m writing. I get through 2 or 3 books a week.

Oh yes… I do read actual books, photo-books, which I collect, but yes, I love audio books for every day.

Practicalities.

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene.

This virus is a tricky bugger. It doesn’t take much to allow some into your life. Hygiene and common sense are the only answers so far.

I wash my hands after I’ve been out, when I’ve put the bins out etc.

I wash my hands after I’ve opened the post – I also burn any post which I don’t have to keep.

I’m about to put a sign on my door forbidding the posting of Junk mail through my door, especially those begging charity sacks. Is that obsessive? Probably, but It’s my life.

I try to wash my hands every hour regardless.

I carry “military grade” hand cleanse gunk when I step out.

Take home suggestions.

  1. First and last, consider hygiene.
  2. Do not become housebound. Even if it’s just a quick 10 minute walk, get out.
  3. *Practice time management. It’s important to take a break even if that’s only sitting somewhere other than your desk while you drink a cup of tea or coffee,
  4. Get an Audible subscription.
  5. Listen to wordless music when you write – I use Mozart. It seems to work best for me.
  6. If you have clients from whom you take physical work or to whom you send physical work i.e. photoprints, tell them what precautions you have taken whilst doing their work and what they should do when they receive it, i.e. it’s been handled by others, carriers etc., so dispose of cartons after emptying etc.
  7. Don’t get side tracked on silly issues. It’s so easy.
  8. Despite what people may think, indications show people who work from home generally do more hours than are expected. There are exceptions of course, but most people I know who work from home work very hard and do more hours.
  9. Social media is a lifeline to the outside world but don’t get hooked on spending working -hours reading pointless stuff.

*In one of my previous lives – I’ve had a few- my work involved me dealing with international clients in different time zones – over the USA and Europe. I worked from home at the time which meant my days were hugely extended, often 15 or 16 hours long. That was not sustainable. Provide time for yourself.

And never forget the old and hackneyed adage:

Allow for the worst and hope for the best.

Best regards and good luck to you all.

Peter Barton

Lincoln UK
17th March 2020

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