ETF Housing Blog

Coping during lockdown

We are certainly living in mysterious times at the moment and I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my lifetime. My name is Mark Henry, Development Worker for Edinburgh Tenants Federation (ETF) and I have been working from home since we went into lockdown at the end of March.  In order to work from home, it was important that I felt ready and prepared.

My work space in my front living room

Working from home had never really appealed to me before and I always felt I worked better in the office.  I have experienced some mental health issues in the past and working from home has been quite difficult at times, particularly as my front living room is also my office space.  I live in a one bedroom flat in Glasgow; which means I don’t have a great deal of choice and space in which to work. Therefore separating my work life and personal life has been challenging.  Although I speak to my colleagues on the phone and via zoom, I miss the face to face contact, the office camaraderie and attending meetings.

I have introduced a number of methods/techniques that have really helped me during the lockdown.  These might be completely different for others but I wanted to share my experiences in the hope that they might be able to help people.

Try to follow a regular routine

The easiest thing to do is to have a long lie.  However I have tried to discipline myself to wake up at a reasonable time. I feel I work best from early morning to mid-afternoon, so my work pattern is usually 8am-4pm.  I have tried to follow a strict work related routine and it has really helped.

Exercise before starting work

As I work in Edinburgh and live in Glasgow, exercising before work was virtually impossible.  However I have found that exercising every morning before I start work is great and really sets me up for the day.  I carry out various exercises which include stomach squats, using my exercise bike or going for a run.  I alternate my exercises on a daily basis.

Take regular breaks throughout the day

I take regular breaks of between 5-10 minutes throughout the day.  During the breaks, I access my social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram.  I am on a number of WhatsApp groups with friends and family, so I keep in touch with them.

Exercise during my lunch break.

I go for walks during my lunch break, which is something I do even when I work in Edinburgh.  The fresh air really helps and it allows me to re-charge my batteries and concentrate better in the afternoon.

Switch off after work

After I’ve finished work for the day, I try to switch off and catch up on the day’s news events.   As the lockdown measures have been eased, I also try and go for a walk before my dinner.  If the weather is nice, I often go for a walk after dinner or sit outside my flat.  If the weather is bad, I’ll normally enjoy a nice DVD or catch up with various programmes I had recorded.

We have not been given any notification yet by the Scottish Government or the Albion Trust on when it is safe to return to work in our office at Norton Park.  However returning to the way we worked before is not an option. Therefore I will be discussing with my ETF colleagues and our Executive Committee to ensure we are able to work in safe environment. In the meantime stay safe and take care.

Written by :

Mark Henry