• Sophie

How has Covid-19 changed your work?

When the UK went into lockdown, people were pretty shocked to see employees at non-essential places like Waterstones being asked to come into work. As much as we love a good book, it was mind-blowing that staff were being asked to risk their health!

Over the last week, we asked some of our followers how they’re coping with being in lockdown due to Coronavirus, and how they and their employers have reacted to the changing situation.

Working from home can be a challenge as an individual, but coordinating everything your company needs to transition to remote working at short notice sounds incredibly stressful. Setting up home offices for staff who need reasonable adjustments - like specially-adjusted chairs, or assistive technology, became much more difficult when the whole country was ordering the same equipment overnight! We’re really impressed by the employers described below, and we hope you are too.

From the entertainment industry:

“My employer has been incredible. I work for a huge international company in the entertainment industry with markets in countries across the world and they have just rolled with this. They got us supported working from home almost overnight, assured hourly & part-time workers they will be paid in full, and have said that they would support us if we needed any medical treatment if we were infected (which is something they do even when we're not in a pandemic).

Also, and this is what I most respect them for, our CEO streams weekly reports to us themselves with their upcoming plans. No briefing directors who then have to brief department heads who then have to brief managers before it trickles down to an employee like me. I can tune into a webinar and hear everything from our CEO directly.”

From the education sector:

“I was sent home from work quite quickly to self-isolate due to COVID-19. I live alone so self-isolating was a scary prospect.

The last two weeks have been a massive learning curve as there is no culture of flexible working in my office. I work with schools so my role has also changed.

I think that I am probably talking to people more. The world is a strange place right now so I'm trying to focus on the positives:

1) I can sing along to Taylor Swift whilst I work and nobody will judge my vocal (in)abilities.

2) My relationships with stakeholders are improving as we all try to muddle through together.

3) I'm talking to people more and learning more about my colleagues outside of work.

4) I am remembering to water my houseplants.

5) The infrastructure now exists for working from home and I'm allowed to do it again in the future! It will make a huge difference to my quality of life.”

From a Government department:

“I asked to work from home before lockdown started, to shield a family member with an existing health condition. My boss was amazing - I wasn’t sure if there would be a long sign-off process or something, but they agreed immediately to my request and I started working remotely the same day.

It’s worked well, and everyone adapted to lockdown quickly. We have daily meetings as a team because of the way we work - we practice a methodology called Agile, which is basically set around daily and weekly routines. On top of that, I have a casual chat with my boss (and other people in my team) most days where we check how everyone is doing, and identify where we can support each other.

It might sound strange, but for me working remotely has been a positive experience overall, and it’s nice to know that I would be supported if I needed to do it again. Because we're being so careful as a household, we were prepared before people started panic-buying, and I didn’t need to buy any kit to set up my workspace - but it was made clear to me that if I needed anything I could request it. I felt, and continue to feel, really valued. Plus, not doing my daily commute means I have more time for hobbies!”

How has coronavirus affected you? Are you working or studying at home, or are you a frontline worker? Share your experiences in the comments!

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