Bruce the English Bulldog

Postcards from the home workspace: Buckinghamshire

Lawrence Stocker - 14 May 2020

Fourth in an occasional series of posts looking at some of the small upsides we are seeing during this difficult and challenging time.

If you had asked me eight weeks ago what were my three favourite things to do during downtime, without hesitation I would have answered:

  • popping to the pub for a beer with mates
  • going to the gym 
  • watching or playing sport

All three have ceased to be options during the lockdown. 

As we have seen across social media, the recent period has unearthed a nation of budding DIYers but it’s safe to say that I am not one of them. I needed to look elsewhere to find an alternative pursuit outside of work. 

I decided to establish a new routine which would incorporate what I enjoy and allow me to find a good balance between work, exercise and relaxation. 

This started just before the restrictions were put in place when I invested in some home gym equipment. In addition – 15 years or so since I last rode one – I went and bought myself a road bike.

Now I had some daily exercise options but needed to work on a routine. 

Structuring the day

At OWA, we have operated a flexible working scheme for several years. Although I had become accustomed to working from home a couple of days a week, my preference was always to be in either our Oxford or London offices – or out and about meeting with colleagues and clients.

Without the familiar pattern, I decided to make the most of the flexible home-working day, which typically looks like this:

  • Greeted by my hungry English Bulldog Bruce (pictured) who wants his breakfast
  • Starting my working day around 08:30
  • Lunchtime Hiit workout 13:00
  • Finishing work around 17:45
  • Heading out for a bike ride or run
  • Have dinner and watch one of the many recommended Netflix series

I am sure you will agree, this doesn’t sound like the most exciting of routines. However, it has kept me focused, provided me with structure and allowed me to get the most out of my day. (It doesn’t help me to distinguish between the days of the week, of course, but that’s another story and one we are all struggling with at the moment!)

Outside of work, we have also had weekly Zoom quizzes with friends, which have been a great way to socialise in lockdown and an excuse to drink some beer. We even had a virtual bake-off last week although my involvement was limited in this.

Looking forward, I take the positives. I do believe the lockdown has enabled me to find a more efficient way of working, and an improved balance with my downtime – not least through the set routine which makes me function better knowing I have a plan.