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Working from home

by Chris Howe on 20·04·2020

At the moment, so many people are being asked to work from home, and the message I would really like to get across to you is about how you think about this.


You aren't working from home. This is really different. You are being asked to stay in your home to protect yourself and the wider population from the worst effects of a global pandemic and at the same time trying to fit in some work.


Try not to be too hard on yourself or your loved ones.


With this in mind, this article just shares a thought from one of our younger paraplanners, Chris Howe, about his experiences with working from home.


I hope you find it useful and feel very welcome if you want to share any ideas or tips about how to best cope with the current situation.


Chris joined us in November 2018 and he has been working from home during that time.


I do not anticipate the lockdown ending anytime soon, so Chris is happy for me to sharethese thoughts with you to see if it helps you.


“Working from home was a big change for me, I was used to working in an office environment, working 9 to 5 (plus the rest) and never had a lot of flexibility.


Whilst being strange initially not being around people, working from home has brought a much better balance to my life which I’ve found has been massively beneficial in improving my mental health.


There have been downsides as well, I miss seeing my colleagues every day and socialising with them outside of work. These are outweighed by the benefits though.


It has enabled me to spend more time doing the things that I enjoy because of the time I’ve saved from not having to commute. It has also allowed me to train harder for the London Marathon which I was due to be running in April but has now been postponed until October.


I earned my place in the year’s marathon through the ballot, despite just a 3.71% chance of gaining a place and over 450,000 applicants applying.


Why then, when I received what I believed was the annual rejection letter through the post was I filled with such fear when I realised I was in!?


The London Marathon is something that I’ve always wanted to run but never truly believed that I could achieve. It was an unattainable dream almost like the Aston Martin or the 1965 Ford Mustang I’ve daydreamed about. The hours of training needed to complete the 26.2 miles seemed daunting to say the least and completely unachievable at worst.


Working standard office hours as I have done in the past would have made fitting in the training needed a massive struggle. With commuting times added in, the long hours would have made the dream likely unattainable. Luckily, since beginning to work as a paraplanner for the Timebank and working from home, those long commuting hours have been put to better use. I’ve rediscovered the enjoyment I get from running. I’ve been pounding the pavements, churning out miles like never before and Saturday long runs have almost been fun!


Training has been going well, I’ve even been gutting it out through the relentless storms that we saw early in the year making even me, the definition of a soft southerner, feel borderline hardcore. I have completed a local 20 mile race through gale force winds that made the last three miles feel like I was running in treacle.


Running has been a massive stress buster for me, getting out in the fresh air, no matter how wet and cold it was after a long day at work allowed me to clear my head. By clearing my head and relaxing after work, I’ve slept better, had less struggles at work and it’s had a positive impact on my overall mindset. I feel stronger both mentally and physically, more prepared for any roadblocks that might be thrown my way both in training and at work and I have started believing in myself more. That once unattainable dream of running a marathon is now within my grasp. I feel like I’ll be ready whenever the race takes place (assuming it does take place!).


Lockdown has added in an extra challenge, not being able to get out for as long as I’d like hasn’t made things easy but it has allowed me to work on other areas of my training and the extra time that I have to prepare will hopefully end up being a blessing in disguise. I’m lucky that it has had no impact on my work when compared to friends that have had to turn their whole lives upside down to start working from home.


This whole situation has put a lot of things into perspective and helped me realise how lucky I am to even be able to run a marathon in the first place.


I’m running the marathon for Mind which is a charity that is important to me. If you’d like to sponsor me you can find the link to my justgiving page here. As I haven’t gained my place through a charity, I don’t have to achieve a certain number, anything that we raise is a bonus. I’ve set a fairly low target so it would be great to smash it out of the park.”


Whatever your 'thing' is, it might be wise to use it as a mechanism to help you get through this period of enforced isolation. 


I know I couldn't run a marathon, but I can make epic sodabread!


Damian Davies