The beginning - March 2020
I had worked from home regularly prior to lock down, so this experience gave me a head start on what was about to become the newly enforced working life. I know others I have spoken to outside Capgemini found it very hard to become customised to working from home, my top tips to them were; 1) keep a sense of structure to your day, 2) still take regular breaks and 3) try to find an organised working space. Additionally, within the workplace myself and a few other graduates based our AMS Graduates and Apprentice community call back in March on “top tips for working from home”, where we invited Bruce Miranda along as our guest speaker. This was a great chance to connect with each other and discuss our thoughts around working from home, especially with their being some new joiners on the call.
Despite working from home prior to lockdown, I still found it tricky with the extreme limitations on leaving the house and was initially worried on how I was going to keep myself occupied. I don’t have any fascinating, regular hobbies and was conscious that I’d look back on this time and feel like I hadn’t used it to my benefit or productively. My fiancé and I were lucky enough to move into our first house together just weeks before lockdown and with it being an 1867 Victorian cottage, I shortly learnt I would struggle to be bored with the endless amounts of work which needed to be done. I did however have to wait nearly 2 months for our delivery of paint to arrive, but then it was all actions go with the decorating.
Distractions- keeping active
I used the governments advised daily exercise to my advantage, trying to make sure I kept up with my steps and got to explore new places so close to our doorstep. One of my favourite things about this time period was the reduction of cars on the roads, meaning walks could be more peaceful and I began to see more and more stars each night. A level of community spirit was also developed, the local primary school had started off a “Covid Snake”, a trail of decorated stones running through the woods. This has now reached over a mile long and recently featured on ITV news, who even went and left their own ITV news stone.
I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up both new skills within and outside the workplace during lockdown. As my role of Automation SME for the Smiths group and Automation SPOC for the SAP tower, I was offered to undertake the Automation Foundation/Practitioner Engineer certification. One key component of this was partaking in training and an exam for the scripting language; Python. This was relatively new for me, and although very challenging it was rewarding learning something to strengthen my technical knowledge. Outside of work I attempted to grow my own fruit and vegetables this year, something again I’ve never done and surprisingly there has been some successes. I also learnt to cook several, different home-made meals and even gave an attempt at making my own elderflower cordial.
Adaptive ways of interacting & having fun
With the heightened amount of worry and uncertainty particularly at the very start of lockdown the increased virtual interaction with work colleagues, friends and family has played a crucial part of keeping me sane. Working from home can feel isolating but being able to still talk to people with camera’s turned on and partake in weekly quizzes helps. Inside of work I have been involved in a variety of coffee break calls, team quizzes and competitions featured on the AMS fun page, like the ready steady cook Capgemini style. Outside of work I took part in weekly virtual pub quizzes, competitively against family and used the “house-party” app to catch up with friends.
The present- August 2020
A slight sense of normality has begun to creep back into our lives, it’s been refreshing able to meet up with friends and family again in small groups, even if it is sometimes at a distance. I think this whole situation has made me realise what I took for granted and appreciate the smaller things in life.