Adapting to life in lockdown and beyond

Moira Garden

Strategy & Insight Manager at Dentsu Aegis Network Edinburgh

At the time of writing this post, we will have been working remotely for nearly two months. Although I normally live in Edinburgh, I travelled to stay with my parents in Kent two days before lockdown. It felt like a strange decision to make, as if I were leaving my friends and colleagues, even though I knew I wouldn’t be seeing them for a long time. Looking back and judging by the size of the bag I packed, I think I was a bit naïve as to how long we would be going into lockdown. Those who know me, know I do not tend to travel light!

Finding structure and beating cabin fever

In the early days of working remotely, one of the biggest hurdles that I had to overcome was the lack of structure to my day. I am very much a creature of habit and enjoy my routine. Before lockdown, I would get up at 07:00 to be at my desk for 08:30. So, rather than disrupting this, I continue to get up around the same time but instead of commuting to work, I practice yoga instead.

As someone who’s quite active and into my fitness, I’ve struggled with no longer being able to go to the gym or play netball, two things I would do regularly before lockdown. Not only is exercise important for my mental health and my main way of dealing with stress and anxiety, but it prevents boredom from kicking in and gets me out of the house. Although during lockdown I can’t go to the gym or play netball, I’ve set aside my lunch break every day to go for a walk in the woods near my house. Whether on my own, or with my parents, it’s a great way to try and reach my 10,000 steps for the day as well as making my workday more productive and minimising cabin fever.

Adapting to working from home

Although some of our ways of working have dramatically changed, there are some elements that have only been altered slightly. When working in the office, my line manager, Maddy, and I have a chat each morning. Whether this is about a new project, approaching deadlines or what we had for tea the night before, it’s a great way to start the day. However, during lockdown this hasn’t changed. Each morning we’ll set aside a bit of time to catch up, and this has really helped to bring normality to my working day. It’s just a shame we aren’t able to do it over a cup of tea in the café bar!

What has been really fascinating since working from home is “seeing” clients or colleagues who you might not normally see. Pre-lockdown (and even in the first two weeks), I felt slightly uncomfortable at the idea of using a webcam on a call - not knowing where to look or worrying I was making a silly face. However, it’s something I’m definitely becoming used to. It’s been great to have the opportunity to “meet” new clients or catch up with colleagues from the Manchester or Newcastle offices, who you don’t often get to see. It’s got me wondering how our communication will change with clients and colleagues once we return to normality and head back to the office. The irony is that I now feel slightly uncomfortable when I am talking to someone and just looking at a black screen, without the webcam on!

Carrying new habits forward post-lockdown

There are many things that lockdown has taught me and I’ve definitely spent a lot of time doing things I felt I didn’t have time for before, such as listening to podcasts (something I never thought I’d say) or reading the books that have slowly been gathering dust on my shelves. I’m hoping that once lockdown eases, I will continue this and work it into my old routine. But the first, and most important, activity will be hugging all my friends and heading to my local pub!