The COVID-19 pandemic is having far-reaching implications on many aspects of our lives – including where we work. As offices and other organizations across the country have closed, Mark Rowley has found a way to make remote “work.”
How has the transition been to working at home? What have you noticed has been harder/easier?
The commute has certainly been shorter – about 2.5 hours a day of driving/trains cut out of my schedule. On the other hand, any distinction/delineation between work & home, or week day & weekend (to the extent there was any previously!) has now totally been lost. Even the Easter holiday weekend felt like a series of slightly odd work days.
Do you have any new 'co-workers' (roommates, partners, children, pets)?
My new co-workers (although none of them are actually working; except the chickens) are my children, Tom and Neve (both aged 12), my wife Pip, Kiwi the dog, and the chickens – Autumn, Acorn, Darcy and Geraldine. The chickens don't often come inside but do lay us eggs during lock-down.
Tell us about your new office space – what do you like better, or is there anything you miss?
Home is an older house (built 1763) in East Sussex. My study at home is small, but has everything I need – two screens, printer, conference phone, etc. The view is good and if I am lucky, Pip brings me a cup of coffee a couple of times a day (that doesn't happen in the office!).
If you've taken on an 'teaching' role for your kids – what are some tips that have worked for you?
We had one week of home-schooling – my wife (a teacher by training) took the lead on that – before the kids started on a 3-week vacation, so they are enjoying the spring weather (together with some relaxed screen-time rules!).
Do you have a go-to activity to help you de-stress or relax?
My go-to activity at home is gardening (we are lucky enough to have 3 acres of land) and cooking, or at this time of year BBQing, in the evening. Every morning we try to do an early morning family walk on Ashdown Forest. The Forest is 2 miles from home and is the setting for the 100 Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh (although the forest is actually 13,000 acres)! A.A Milne lived a couple of miles from our house when he wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories.
What is your best tip for working remotely?
My best tip for working remotely is scheduling a lunch break on the calendar often, at different times each day, to accommodate work and setting aside the time to join the family for lunch.
Unfortunately, my boxset watching was my train activity. There is no chance my wife is going to allow me to watch what I want to at home. Instead Pip has the TV tuned to costume dramas such as Malory Towers and Belgravia – much to the disgust of co-worker Tom and me.
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