3. Space/Time – Changing Spaces

A claustrophobic vacuum
During the COVID-19 pandemic I was dealing with a significant personal life event. I separated from my husband in December 2019. Due to the pandemic and impact on the housing market (slowing the sale and purchase process down) the three of us (we have a teenage daughter) were still living together until Sept 2020. This home situation made lockdown 1 very challenging and intense for me. Whilst I had the benefit of having an office at home and as such a door I could close at the end of the working day (giving a psychological distance between home-life and work), home itself felt like a claustrophobic vacuum. Ten months of sharing a home with an ex-partner was not ideal, but we both made an effort and the situation, on reflection, could have been worse. #9

Checking in
I kept thinking like if I’d been able to go into work and see people then you know I would have had some more sort of support just like people checking after me, commenting on the baby, like just in far more chats with colleagues and stuff. I really felt like I needed that and I didn’t get it that much because yes no one could see me, no one could visibly see the pregnancy and people did ask after me and stuff but yes there were times that maybe I would have gone into work and if someone had asked me how I was I would maybe have like cried and they would have maybe given me some support and sent me home or something. But instead, I would just sit at home feeling like really crap about myself.  #23

Corridor conversations
With the absence of the corridor conversations, it’s felt quite lonely.  Not that I’ve done anything other than be in meetings.  I totted up the other day I’ve got 59 meetings that are at least sort of once a month so I do nothing but go to meetings with the same people, but what I don’t do is walk away from those meeting, because they’re all online now, and say oh god, can you, you know, that was rubbish, that was, how are they going to do that, that’s never going to work, or you know, saying to somebody oh well done for speaking up or, you know, all of that camaraderie that goes with physically being in a room with someone –  well not actually physically being in a room, walking down the corridor, walking back to your office with somebody where you put the world to rights.   #4

Feeling (un)connected
Chats down the corridor make such a difference.  It’s just kind of very quick catch-up with people and then feeling connected, feeling like we’re all in this together.  That doesn’t feel the same when we’re just working from home and doing our own thing mostly because you can’t just … I mean we can but we don’t arrange a meeting just to catch up if that makes sense.  #25