Crazy times, huh? I used to work from home a few years back but I’m out of the habit. My practice is half-civil and half-professional disciplinary. The civil paperwork can carry on, but I’ve had to go almost completely paperless, and far more quickly than I’d intended; conferences can be done by phone or – if you really must – by video; I’ve not had any hearings in civil yet. In professional disciplinary, I’ve had two video hearings in interim orders cases so far, by Skype for Business. Quite a lot of my work can carry on but, like everyone, I’m wondering how long it will all last and how it will all turn out, with intermittent anxiety at varying levels.
What has struck me after a fortnight working from home is (i) I’m taking far less exercise (ii) I’m drinking a little more wine and (iii) I’m sleeping much less well – I only needed to write those down in sequence to connect the dots. I’ve slipped into “holiday mode” and I need to shape up and keep the work ticking over. I peeped over the Twitter parapet, reminded myself what an unfiltered world that is, and ducked back down again. Oh, and I miss my kids, who are in lockdown with their mum. That said, on a more positive note, I’m quite pleased with myself for learning more about Teams, S4B and Zoom in this short time than I ever thought possible.
Some or all of the above may apply to you. You may have added or different pressures – young children who need constant supervision and home-schooling; older family members who need looking after; no-one to share your home with; even, dare I say it, slow broadband or wi-fi dropouts.
What’s the solution? As I’ve said before in my wellbeing blogs, we all have two sets of resources – internal and external. Now’s the time to dig deep and find yours. I am as certain as I can be of anything that each of us has powerful internal reserves to draw on, and external sources of help to reach out to. In this blog I’m not going to add to your information-overload, with one exception – the Wellbeing at the Bar website has resources (the “I Need Help” section, the “Staying Well” section and the Assistance Programme are all good starting points) which we hope can help you and your colleagues. Spread the word.
Feed back to us what’s working for you, individually and in chambers, and what’s not working, stay well and please please please speak to someone when you’re in a dip – you are not alone in this.