aka office vibes during the lockdown and how we’re REALLY doing

It’s hump day of week 6 of COVID19 Lockdown. While we have been – and still are – regularly checking in with each other in the team, and asking RUOK…? But how are we really feeling as we ride this COVIDCoaster?

From an Office Manager’s observation, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion amongst our team.

Some may argue that architects may tend to be more emotional than other professions… perhaps.

I present, The COVIDCOASTER: the POWE Team week-by-week, play-by-play, highs and lows of lockdown.

Week 1 – the Honeymoon period

We were all a bit excited about the opportunity to work remotely. The comforts of home, testing the technology, introducing the fur-kids to Zoom and Teams, skipping the stress of school drop-offs, battling traffic or public transport crowds and delays.

We even found some new playlists, great online workouts and a spot to roll out the yoga mat! We were gonna nail this lockdown!

Week 2 – Hitting our stride

We are #Allinthistogether (…four weeks later, does anyone still love this song!?? More like #Wearealloverittogether ?!?)

If we were lucky enough to find flour in the supermarket, we were getting into #quaranbaking, tracking down the best #quarantips and other long-neglected hobbies and hashtags.

We had ironed out the kinks in the tech, found the “Touch up my Appearance” setting in Zoom, and our favourite spot in the house for videoconferences. We even did all those online yoga classes that we found!

Week 3 – Over the Honeymoon

Watch out for the energy drop after the Easter long weekend!

After an Easter long weekend in lockdown – that would otherwise have been enjoyed outdoors making the most of the end of summer – the energy and enthusiasm dropped off dramatically. This was no mere post-chocolate-binge low. This was getting to be a real bummer. And the dog was tired from all the extra walking!

We were really in the lows of the COVIDCoaster now!

Week 4 – Rallying for the long haul

The lead up to Anzac Day seemed to provide a timely reminder, that the lockdown, while becoming tedious and tiresome, was no comparison to years of appalling war; and our small inconveniences weighed nothing against the sacrifices made by those who lived and died 100 years ago.

The team rallied. We knuckled down.

This was especially true for parents of school-aged children who suddenly had to juggle not only full-time remote working but also new challenges of home-schooling supervision as Term 2 kicked off.

Week 5 – The Blur

Yes, we’re in the long haul now. We feel it. We know it. When every day becomes Blursday.

But we’ve also learned a lot and know that we need to keep plugging away to get through this. We know that this will not just take a little extra effort. We know that VC meetings take extra energy and tire us more. [Check out National Geographic’s recent article on Zoom Fatigue.] But we also know that we are not the only ones feeling this way and we understand why. The extra effort to maintain our social and human interactions in the current context are more taxing and everyone is feeling it. We are over it. But so is everyone else and we are a team.

So, we find new locations in the house for our videoconferences. We use our phones instead of our laptops. We’ve not only mastered quirky backgrounds for Zoom and Teams, but we’ve also found the Snapchat plugin! (Talking banana anyone…?)

Week 6 – The End is in Sight

The sense of relief as Queensland lifted some COVID19 restrictions shouldn’t be underestimated. While we may not have been able to venture far from home, simply knowing that we could, gave us enough hope that this COVIDCoaster lockdown would soon be all over. And the opportunity to enjoy some time outdoors on such a brilliant Labour Day weekend seemed to recharge all of us.

While nothing is set in stone, announcing a staggered plan for children to return to school over the coming weeks is another strong indicator that the end of lockdown is coming. And no doubt a welcome relief for homeschooling parents.

What will the next few weeks bring?

Our team currently has a tipping competition for a return-to-usual date. I’ve got May 25. What do you think?

Click through to read some of our team’s thoughts about working through the current pandemic.

Networking in a Lockdown by Michael Ellis

How will you go back to work by Michael Ellis

Should I stay or should I go? by Len Powe