Day one of self-isolating/working from home

Written by: Lynsey Brodie, Community Links Practitioner, the ALLIANCE

Published: 18/03/2020

"This Coronavirus has forced us into isolation, but it has not forced us to stop having connections."

Well, I’ve come to the end of my usual work day. Actually, I’m finishing a little later than usual but I think that is okay since I’ve probably not had the most productive of days work-wise. I’ve spent probably too long today worrying about how I am going to contact all the people I’ve been working with in these last few months. Not because there’s too many people to get around for the next 14 days/foreseeable future, but because I don’t have everyone’s details in my work phone. After a reassuring phone call from my ever-caring manager, I accepted that it’s ok that I don’t have all the answers right now, no-one does. Extra, extra re-assurance came in the form of her letting me know that it’s ok if I find myself on the couch having a cuppa, and I could do so with a clear conscience. There will be work to be done, but it won’t be as it usually is.

It’s hard to imagine the role of a Community Links Practitioner in a home-working setting. The clue is in the title, “Community” – how can any community work be achieved when people everywhere are self-isolating, having to work from home while the community as we know it, is starting to close down? In the words of human rights activist and all-round good guy Desmond Tutu, “A person is a person through other persons; you can’t be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships”. So, is that it then? In our isolation do we cease to be human? No! The message here is the last part – relationships. This c-virus (anyone else sick fed-up of saying it’s full name?) has forced us into isolation, but it has not forced us to stop having connections.

In the age of technology, we are able still to talk on the phone, text each other, email, Skype and even Zoom (which I’d never heard of until yesterday). I even today – via the nominated person to leave the front door of my isolating household, who happens to be my hubby – sent an ACTUAL letter in the post! Yes, the Royal Mail still exists and not just in the form of delivering bills. It was liberating even for me sticking the stamp on the envelope instead of the boring “clicking send” on an email, so I can’t imagine the absolute thrill my hubby must’ve experienced visiting the post box. In all serious though, it was a necessary letter to send; it contained the essential aspirin that my dad, who hasn’t been able to buy it anywhere, needs daily. Stop panic-buying people!

The connections continued in offering support on the phone to someone I’ve been working with a wee while now.  It was disappointing for them to learn I could no longer attend a crucial upcoming hearing, but reassuring (to us both) that our usual “links” work could be applied just as successfully over the phone. Two small, but important, feats and some background work too boring to mention. But all in the context of the novel home-working, which for me presently consists of my hubby also working-from home, my eldest coughing his guts up (the reason we are self-isolating), my youngest loving life playing his computer games and our still new wee labradoodle puppy wondering why the house is so full on a work day. Get used to it Buddy, we’ll be around a while yet.

Follow Lynsey’s blog (this link will take you away from our website) on self isolating and working from home.

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