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I have long believed that, although I am a sociable person, I prefer my own company. So I was looking forward to a bit of time working from home, shutting myself away in my newly set up home office, listening to music while whiling away the hours working.

The first week or so was good, I got my groove on while getting into the groove of working robotically through my daily tasks. I attended planning for the future video meetings and met work colleagues virtually for lunch on our regular “Eat Together Tuesdays”.

All was good in the world of remote working, the days past and the work got done. I stayed in the house not venturing outside as “I am too busy, there’s too much to do”, “ you’ll have to go to the shop, I don’t have time” I’d say to my husband and I slowly came to the realisation that...

I hadn’t left the house in 6 weeks! I hadn’t spoken to any of my local friends at all and only had a few ‘work’ conversations with colleagues. I had attended a few of our “Eat together Tuesdays” but I found myself getting fed up when everyone had signed out. I started feeling like I was a prisoner.

My daily routine had become: alarm goes off, get up, go to the kitchen to get breakfast and coffee, go to the office and stay in there until 3pm working, go down to the kitchen and make tea, go to the living room and eat tea, watch TV until bedtime, go to bed and “sleep” (something I am not very good at anyway) then the alarm goes off and it starts all over again! I move from one box to the next inside a bigger box containing other smaller boxes! “Is this a social experiment to see how people can cope with confinement? I feel like a rat in a test situation to see if I can find a way out or resort to gnawing a limb off to get out!

Here I am and it's July. I have been working from home since the end of March apart from 3 weeks in June while I was furloughed which, if I am honest, felt like a punishment because I didn’t even have my work to distract me from my inner demons. I am trying to give myself a talking to and now we are able to go out of our boxes a bit more, I am making myself get out and about.

Even if I am only ferrying my daughter to her social arrangements because, in so doing, it means I get to see and speak to a few of my friends if only from a suitable social distance. Tea and cakes in the garden at two meters apart, who knew that would become a thing?

I have realised that although I do like my own company, I don’t like it day in, day out with no other alternative. I miss my friends both work and other, I miss having a laugh with a real person not a computer screen with someone’s face on it, that’s not real. Real is being able to hug a friend when you see them, to ask for a hug when you need one, to have a proper chat and put the world to rights while doing your work at your desk in an office full of people.

Real is buying a gift for someone who needs a boost and hiding it on their desk for when they next come in, just to see the smile on their face and wondering who it is from. Real is popping around to your best mates’ house just to drop some stuff off that you have for them or their kids and giving them a hug to say you love them.

My realisation is I prefer REAL LIFE not VIRTUAL LIFE.

Stay safe and show someone you love them whenever you can.

Lisa Griffin,
Finance Assistant

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