Be kind to yourself – Understanding that we are all just working through a crisis, and not ‘working from home’
Over the past year, the SBS Athena SWAN team has been open and active in their hopes for a more widely adopted and supported Flexible Working Policy across the University, linking in with HR and Patrick Hackett to discuss plans to highlight best practice and offering support to those wanting to explore possibilities for themselves. We were even in the process of setting up a Flexible Working Champions Network. But then Covid-19 hit us. This is a crisis however – IT IS NOT FLEXIBLE WORKING AS WE KNOW IT. We are all at home, working as best we can while surrounded by our loved ones, or alone. What we are experiencing is not normal or usual, and it comes with a certain amount of stress, unpredictability, sleepless nights and the ever-changing life arena. Internet access has never seemed more important in our house, and I now know every nook that has the best signal for a quiet call. Zoom has been a lifesaver; many of us have had camera bombs by small children or cats; we are getting used to seeing people in their natural habitat – their homes. And it is becoming more acceptable. So we hope that if one positive thing can come out of this crisis is a more accepting working culture. And we hope that people use the opportunity to see how they could work from home occasionally to make life just a little bit easier. Through this crisis, we have all had to build up goodwill and trust with our line-managers and supervisors which in the future should help to support formal changes to working patterns.
And in the meantime, be kind to yourself and others. This is hard and unprecedented. Don’t hold yourself to your usual standards, it won’t be possible to respond and deliver as quickly whilst also being in charge of schooling/refereeing small children or tending the needs of elderly relatives, or helping those in self-isolation. Not to mention dealing with your own anxieties and media barrage. We will have good days and bad days. Last week in my home we narrowly avoided disaster due to an incident with a skateboard and two little dare devils whilst both me and my partner had urgent calls. It made us take a step back and now I am splitting my day to allow for me to spend more time with my kids, and picking up some work in the evening. And I know I won’t be able to deliver a ‘full days work’ – but I’m not actually at work, work is closed because this is a crisis. This is not working from home, this is trying to work at home during a crisis.
Disclaimer – I stole the tag line from twitter..
Dr Colette Inkson
Division of Cell Matrix Biology & Regenerative Medicine
Industry Liaison Manager
Twitter – @colswebb