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Work & family balance in lockdown

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So idesign’s blog posts are normally about our current projects or trends happening within the interior sector. We have all felt the ramifications of COVID-19 within our personal life and within our businesses. The online Linkedin community and Zoom has become my go to for business support, WhatsApp and Facetime my best friend for communication with my extended family and the three people I live with my concern and routine which has consumed my attention the past two weeks.

As an interior designer I should be releasing a blog on hot tips on the correct working from home environment. But we are all making do at the moment? I expect many of you are in a spare room which is full of ‘other’ items which are meant for storage and have never made it to the loft. Or are you perched on your dining table where you have to move every time you eat a family meal.  Wherever you are WFH at least you can wear what you want, work when you like and eat what you like without being judged by your colleagues.

We are lucky within in our household that we have an office custom designed & built by my husband in our garden. I am currently invading his space with a desk, my computer, two children who don’t seem to understand ‘mummy’ is working and a cat who is so excited her ‘alpha’ is home, you can imagine all of us squashed into a small room with no where else to go. So my working hours have become few during the day, or at unsociable hours either late into the night or early morning.  I bet many of you can sympathise with how WFH isn’t ideal but it is a must for our survival.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak I felt myself gripped to the news with any new developments, on edge not knowing what the future holds and in shock on how we might cope with all these changes.  Us human beings are very adaptable!  I feel that as a community everyone has stepped up in helping that elderly next door neighbour, the heroes in the NHS or volunteering to help. It has made us more supportive and considerate of others.

When it all first started I felt shock and fear for my families health and then grief for the freedom I had in going to work or simply just walking to the shop.  As a business owner and mum I have a very good balance between work and family life. But suddenly the weekly routine I knew, and childcare I relied on, was removed without knowing how long this was going to happen for. Again with business we suddenly were told to work from home, projects were being put on hold and suppliers were unable to deliver.

From a business point of view I panicked I will not lie! The future felt unknown. So I reached out to my business network via email, phone and social media. This has been a tie and support line to the wider world and put it into perspective that everyone is going through the same scenario. Business is just temporary on hold!  The support and advise I have had from the small business community has been amazing. So as a fighter and creative I have done the only thing I know to do and that is to design and prepare myself and my company for the post-COVD-19 relaunch. Redesigning my website and creating our ‘iwell’ brand for our new innovative office and education furniture centred around wellbeing.

To then adapt to be full time mum and home teacher I have braced with enthusiasm, creativity and guts. Having the kids full-time without being able to go anywhere we are all facing this new change. Stress levels high, lots of screaming at each other and tantrum central (that was just how I felt).  To start with I was so surprised at how resilient kids are. My eldest hasn’t even questioned why she isn’t going to school anymore or why she can’t see grandparents. She has just excepted this new change and has embraced home schooling with happiness and enthusiasm. This might not last!  The school has been great with giving work and social media has helped with PE sessions. Again routine and creativity is at the heart of how I am coping with the girls by giving the day a structure, creating an interest and lots of outdoor time in the garden. As a family it has made us stronger and has made me appreciate what life I do have with them.

The negatives of not being able to see your loved ones like your parents or your best friend up the road, out way why we are all doing this – to stay at home and keep loved ones safe. Remember this is only temporary, life will restart again but in the immediate we need to survive this!