Tag Archives: working from home

Covid BCN 05: a time for reflection

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Day six of lockdown. I woke this morning to a neighbour playing ABBA at full blast, so how could this not be a glorious day!

Dancing queen, young and sweet only seventeen!

Yes, reader, I spent a fun half-hour lip-synching in front of the mirror. Desperate ills … desperate remedies. I don’t think I’ve done that since I was fifteen and a friend of my sister’s caught me at it. Oh the shame, the shame! Since then, however, I’ve gone on to do far more shameful things, so dancing to ABBA has been officially struck off the list. One of the glories of growing older is being able to own your idiosyncrasies – even weirdnesses – without shame.

Then I sat down and applied for two copywriting jobs that had dropped into my inbox, so the day started constructively. (Note to self: for the facetime interview, ditch the sweats and wear a proper shirt.)

Two items, one shared by my sister here, and another by The Big Idea website on the Japanese concept of Ikigai, made me think that with this crisis we are creating a new world. So the challenge is to create it better than the one we had. There will be a before and an after from this time. I suspect teleworking could become more the norm with, say, office employees needing to show up for meetings just one day a week while otherwise working from home. That would bring business rents down in cities like Barcelona, taking some of the strain off shops and off the businesses themselves, which would need less office space.

Illustration of Ikigai by Jessica Thompson Carr (AKA Māori Mermaid), courtesy of The Big Idea website
Illustration by Jessica Thompson Carr (AKA Māori Mermaid), courtesy of The Big Idea

The covid19 crisis has all but shouted down news on the environmental crisis the world is facing, yet this fundamental change we are all making to our lives could be the healthy beginning of a new way of treating our planet. In China, Europe and many industrial nations, air pollution is the best it has been for decades as industry closes down. If we continue with and expand upon the patterns we are establishing to fight this crisis – travelling less by air, avoiding a commute and working from home, doing as much of our business online as possible (admittedly computers use a lot of energy, but not nearly as much as trains and planes) – we are likewise taking positive steps to heal the planet. Neither am I suggesting that industry should remain shut down, but this crisis might provide an impulse to reorganise it along greener lines, so that when it reopens, our world is a better place.

We should identify these processes and make them manifest and permanent. A friend who has been forced to work from home for the Covid19 crisis is now considering – if he can make teleworking a success – a move back to his village, where he is closer to the beach and life is cheaper. A lot of Spanish towns have been affected by migration to the cities. This could be the key to their repopulation. Obviously this solution would not work for everybody, but if commuting within cities was halved, for example, and we had less need to build new motorways, imagine how grateful our planet would be. Working from home means you are lowering your carbon footprint so neither do you have to feel quite as guilty about taking that holiday by plane as you did before the crisis hit us.

Just some thoughts for reflection from a Covid home-exile.

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