The “new normal” is weird.
It’s 150 days since I had a face to face conversation with any colleague.
On Friday I had virtual meetings to farewell colleagues.
On Monday I interviewed a new colleague, via video call. That’s not so unusual, but she will not meet any of us at any point in her recruitment or her on-boarding.
I have left this city twice since March – I would normally commute daily.
Every meal I have eaten in that 150 day period, I have eaten alone. For the first 90 days or so every meal was home cooked, but I’ve relaxed a little and now order meals online.
Every night I’ve slept alone, not just alone in my bed, but alone in my apartment.
It’s very easy for a week to go by in which my only face-to-face interaction is with service staff at supermarkets and the one cafe I trust.
And when I leave my home, I wear a mask.
The “New Normal” is very weird.
For many people that term is stress inducing, it’s easy to mock, and lends itself to irony. I might be alone in finding it helpful in accepting that these are the things I have to do now.
So are there any positives?
End of open plan office space
We may never go back to open plan offices. The negative impact of open plan on productivity is something I’ve thought a lot about, in the most densely populated office I wore sound cancelling headphones in order to concentrate – and wondered why that was the solution to a shortage of working space in a highly profitable company. I’ve found it so much easier to concentrate on my work, and I am happier about being flexible with my hours – talking to Asia at 8am and America at 7pm doesn’t seem so bad when there isn’t a commute each side of that.
Museums are slowly re-opening, but they are limiting visitor numbers and in some cases limiting the number of people in a room. This makes visits a delight. Those two trips to Amsterdam included visits to the Rijksmuseum. The image to the right shows the room control on the threshold of each door at the Mauritshuis.
These two positives don’t make up for all that has changed and all the suffering of those who got this wretched disease.
The new normal is indeed, weird.