Over the past few months I’ve written various posts about Clubhouse. I wrote about how it had had grown but also my thoughts on the future. Over the past month or so it seems that Clubhouse has fallen. I believe it to be because the app came out whilst many of us were in lockdown. We weren’t able to do the things we would usually do and so Clubhouse became one of the things we used to take up our time.
Whilst the creators were watching their invention grow and thrive, the users although using and possibly even enjoying the app, were also longing for ‘real life’ to return.
And so once restrictions began to ease, use of the app reduced. People no longer needed something to fill their time as they could get back to going to the movies, going for dinner, going for drinks, going to museums, seeing friends and whatever else they did pre-pandemic.
Plus, unlike other things that came about during lockdown, Clubhouse was not able to replace Instagram or Twitter and it’s certainly not enough to replace social interaction.
Lockdown allowed us to fantasise about the possibilities of life.
The way that things were was no longer seen as the way that things had to be.
The longer we were inside the more we began to speak of the new normal. We were able to imagine changes on scales small and large. I think this gave a lot of people hope, that this pandemic would not be for nothing if once it was over there would be change for the better.
But, somewhere along the way, there was a shift. Instead of speaking of the new way of life we had once hoped for, we began to long over the old ways.
Suddenly, it was the old normal that we were dreaming of, not something new.
For a large group of people they’ve spent most at least 4 months of the year working from home. They’ve had to adjust and adapt to a new environment whilst still maintaining the same work output that would be delivered in the office.
Despite the difficulties I think everyone gains something working from home. For some people those gains actually outweigh the losses.
The main thing is that you have more control over how you spend your time.
It could be starting early and finishing early or starting and finishing late.
Spending your morning working on personal projects.
Organising your work time to give you a few hours of leisure in the late morning to early afternoon.
Perhaps it’s being able to dress however you want and cook meals instead of just buying something or heating something up in the microwave.
Maybe, you’ve gained more time to spend with the people you love because you no longer have to commute.
As much as it might be difficult, challenging and inconvenient to work from home, it’s worth acknowledging the good bits.
The past few months have been something none of us could have ever anticipated. It’s been challenging, sad, stressful and at times overwhelming.
Times like this are perfect for reflection because we’ve all been reminded how short life is and how tomorrow isn’t promised.
Our day to day have all changed in some way. We’ve had to do without things we didn’t even know we relied on and instead had to stay indoors.
I’ve written a few questions below for you to think about. They’re things I’ve been reflecting on as the lockdown rules start to ease up here in England.
What has brought you joy?
How have you been spending your free time?
What do you miss?
What have you been happy without?
What will you change moving forward?
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on how what I write about has changed.
Firstly, I’ve found that a lot of my posts have been about the pandemic whether it is about working from home or the way our day to day lives have changed. Secondly, there is much less playfulness in the way I write because everything going on in the world is quite serious.
Overall I’ve been quite current, writing about things happening now. But at the same time I also want my posts to be evergreen so that they’ll still be useful to the person reading them 6 months from now.
However, the posts I’ve written about this pandemic are something I’ll probably be glad to look back on as a reflection on this current time. To know not necessarily how I was feeling but instead what I thought mattered at the time. That’s what I’ve been writing about.
Prior to mid-march 2020 my writing time consisted of my journey to and from work, my lunch break and in the evenings after dinner. I’d do my best to plan ahead and have my posts scheduled for 7.30am each morning.
But once lockdown started my day to day life changed significantly. I was no longer travelling to and from work each day, my work and home life were blended.
Over the past couple of months I’ve stopped planning ahead, almost never schedule posts in advance and I’m no longer posting in the morning. Instead I write and post on my blog in the evenings as my day is winding down. I’m still posting the same amount but I actually find that it’s a lot easier.
It’s much simpler and less time consuming which means I have more time for everything else that i enjoy.
I’ve recently had a few conversations about going back to work and what that will look like.
For some that worked in offices they were able to continue at home whilst for others things grounded to a halt and have remained so for the past couple of months.
From the way things look, it appears that even though things are starting to open up again, we will not be going to back to the normal that we once knew.
With social distancing set to become our new way of living, the office environment can no longer remain the same.
Lunch – The eating space can no longer be a social space used to catch up and get away from your desk. Tables and chairs would need to be re-organised to ensure social distancing remains. It’ll probably be more convenient to just eat at your desk.
Meetings – In the past few months all meetings have been held over video or changed to a phone call, I think this will remain. Travelling for client meetings will no longer be a priority, unless perhaps done so by car. Team meetings work well whilst we’re all at home but this will not translate well into a socially distanced office. We’ll need to think about how we can have group discussions in a private place whilst still maintaining distance.
Hot-desking – Something that was implemented as the new way of working and that marked a rise in the flexibility of the 9-5 is now at risk of being eradicated. We’ll still have the flexibility in work hours but the space we work in will stay the same, the less stuff shared the better.
As you can see, it’ll be a challenge to maintain any sort of normal office environment with social-distancing. An office, like many other work spaces is built on people coming together.
What does this change mean for the future of working and how can we adapt to ensure we’re working in spaces that meet our needs both individually and collectively?
That’s a phrase often used when you’re in a defeated mindset. It is often followed by something that we don’t think is possible.
e.g. In an ideal world we would be able to overcome these injustices.
If in an ideal world us as society, as humanity would be able to overcome the injustices then why can’t it happen.
It’ll take much more than a day or 2 but if you cared enough to think it or to say it, then maybe it’s worth trying.
We as people make the world what it is collectivley, it’s not so seperate from us that we have no impact.
As The Drifters song goes ‘you just have to wish to make it so’. It takes much more than a wish alone but it doesn’t mean that, that’s not where change can begin.
Just a little reminder for whenever you get overwhelmed with everything that is going on. It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come or all the helpful things that you’ve learnt.
Going for a walk – I think this must be one of the most popular things that people do to clear their head plus it gets the body moving.
Sitting in silence – We rarely sit in silence there’s always something whether you’re listening by choice or it’s background noise like music, TV or a conversation.
Talking to a friend – Choose someone that will listen but be mindful and ask before offloading. You don’t have to even talk about the issue at hand maybe just have a random chat about life.
Talking to a stranger – Not literally but some that is unbiased and not part of your everyday life like a therapist or a helpline set up to support people with different issues they’re facing.
Meditation – Maybe your mediation is sitting in silence but maybe it’s a guided mediation to ease stress or anxiety. It helps to be still sometimes and we often underestimate the impact it can have because we feel like it won’t help to just stop or at least slow down.
EFT – Also known as tapping. This is probably one of the most unexpectedly helpful things I’ve ever come across. I love that it doesn’t require any materials and is easy to do.
Laughter – They call laughter the medicine of life and I believe it. Something funny can totally shift your mood on days when you feel down.
Dancing – Dancing brings me so much joy and it’s another way to get the body moving. When your feeling down and remain still it enables the emotions to become heavy and weigh you down. Plus if dancing is something you associate with fun or celebrations it’ll actually help you feel better.
Uplifting words – Whether it’s podcasts, talks, songs or books, find words that uplift you. I even find it helpful to read back my own words because much of what I write is timeless and based around overcoming challenges.
Right now a lot of people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the slow return to normalcy. Granted it’ll be a long time until things are back to how they were but as they say ‘slow progress is better than no progress’.
This normality will be positive for some and for others, something they are dreading.
There are people that have been furloughed from jobs they don’t want to back to.
There are people who have finally been able to live without feeling obligated to be social.
There are people who miss being in the presence of friends, family and lovers.
There are people who miss going to work.
But I think that what many are forgetting is that even when things go back to the normal, it won’t be same, too much has happened.
A pandemic is a pretty big deal.
It’s changed us.