Working From Home During Covid-19
These past couple of months have been a testing time for us all. Trying to find ways of completing jobs that were in production before lockdown, amending work schedules and practices to suit our new circumstances and trying to find new work where contracts have suddenly changed, been pulled or postponed.
On top of this is the family situation. No-one wants to inflict your work life on your family, but when access to the office space is restricted, that's pretty much the new normal for many of us. Added to that, everyone else in the family also considers the home their new workplace or school, and finding a way to get work tasks completed is probably more complicated than ever before.
I, like many others in the broadcast world, don't find this new work reality all that different from what happened pre Covid-19. Most of us in this industry bring home work regularly. The idea of developing programme ideas on the home PC or laptop is nothing new, nor are leaving programmes to output or graphics to render overnight.
For others this is new territory, and with over two months having passed since the lockdown began in Ireland, it seems that people are itching to get back to something like the normality they were used to, stretching the boundaries of what is allowed by the health authorities and basically ignoring the health advice being given by others more qualified than ourselves.
No-one knows what the fallout might be if we ease restrictions which the State has imposed on us to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The latest WHO announcement that the disease might never go away fully is a hammer blow to people who thought this might be a brief if inconvenient spell away from normal work, but that we'd all get back to the office desk within a reasonable period of time.
But this doesn't look likely now, and unless a vaccine is developed, this means our current home-office arrangements will have to remain for the time being and in all likelihood, the current arrangement will form a core part of everyday work practices into the future.
So we all need to find ways that incorporate the current world we live in into how we map out our future. This involves our daily tasks - how we deal with shopping, chatting to the neighbours, walk the dog, whatever, and of course it also includes how we work.
In the future, we will likely never fully work the way we did in the past. I think we need to accept that. Not that this means we can't work. It just means a period of adjustment will be needed for us to invent new work practices and methods to make us work more efficiently and safely to protect ourselves and our families, as well as our work colleagues and members of the public.
I'm sure that when the time comes for us to emerge from our home offices and find a way to readjust to this new way of working, we will have many challenges to overcome and it will come in the face of an economy which is likely to be on its knees.
But this scenario is not something we need to face alone. All of us, from the individual operation to the multinational, will have challenges to overcome. There will be plenty of people in the same boat as yourself, and this will give opportunities for each of us to work in cooperation with people who we might have considered the competition in a past life. But now the people you considered your competitors can now become your colleagues. Pool resources, work in tandem, develop each other's strengths, find ways or reaching out, all of these are ways we can find a new-normal. Those that stay the same and decide not to move on will most likely be left behind.