I wasn’t sure if I would write this week because it felt so much like we are all in the same (or similar) boats right now and I really didn’t think I would add anything to the discussion.
Things that haven’t changed:
- we’re all self isolating,
- we’re all adjusting to working from home / parenting / teaching,
- we’re all a bit worried and unsure what to do with ourselves.
So I’m not going to talk too much about those things, even though, obviously I’m going to talk about those things because they affect how my week has been. I’m not saying I’m going to give you any massive insights here (do I ever?!) weeknotes are predominantly for my own reflection, and honestly, we’re all just feeling our way right now.
Before I start here’s my weekly reading trello:
By Friday of this week I only had 2 items on the board, which probably shows what a busy week it’s been. I’ve made up for it with quite a bit of reading over this weekend so it’s not quite as sparse as it was looking. I’ve created a new label (it doesn’t appear as a colour on the cards) for Covid-19, and (surprise!) most of what I’ve read this week has been related to that in some way.
If you want to see any related articles you can search cards and select by label, maybe skip the Covid-19 label though. I’m sure you’re getting enough of that elsewhere.
Week 2 of social distancing
So this was week 2 of working remotely and the first week of really getting to grips with how we operationalise all of the pivots our team made last week.
While my little boy could have attended school (he has an EHCP and I’m now classed as a keyworker) we took the decision not to send him because we thought that my other half would be part of the “at-risk” category. I don’t think the PM actually announced that “vulnerable” people should isolate for 12 weeks until Monday night, but when he did we were relieved that we’d made the right decision.
So then there was the whole working with a child at home thing. I know I’m not the only one who is having to deal with this. We also have a nanny who we are paying, though she isn’t coming, so were pleased to hear this week that she would be”furloughed” (am I the only one who thought that furlough was a farming term or something? Like something you do to a sheep?)
On Monday I started work at 9am, and that was really too late, so every day after that I started at 8am.
I’ve set 12–1pm every day as “family lunch” and put it in my diary. I’m also telling whoever I’m speaking to that I’ve set that time aside and told my husband not to let me work. I want to make sure that we are sitting together to eat and spend time together, especially as little man won’t be in school and it’s important that we build a new routine.
Thankfully the weather has meant that we could sit outside in the sunshine and eat, we can go out in the garden and have the door open and just be in and out.
In the afternoons my husband works, and I look after little man. I still have to take occasional calls, which Gene sometimes comes along to, but I try not to do too much so that I can spend time with him. I’ve been picking work up in the evening to make sure that everything is being covered.
I’ve also had to learn a little more this week about working as part of a team again. Prateek, Morgan and I will be working together and that’s excellent because they are excellent.
I’m really be pleased to be working collaboratively again and sharing. I hope I’m doing a good job of keeping everyone aligned and taking the time to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to input.
We’ve been working with our delivery team to to get them started on thinking about how we extend our functionality to support the other parts of the NLC who are, in turn, supporting public sector leaders up and down the country as they deal with this whole thing. In less than a day we released a new piece of functionality that will make sure that anyone accessing our service will see a link to our survey for senior leaders, it’s not the main way for us to contact them but it reinforces the message.
I’m increasingly thinking about our service as a “back up” but that sounds a bit derogatory or disparaging. I don’t mean secondary in importance, but secondary in location — it’s not currently somewhere that our leaders go with regularity, but it is useful and they do come when they need it.
So everything we do within the service at the moment will need to reinforce the work that is going on by other teams in the NLC and using other communications channels, supporting messages and adding value as we work out what our new processes and operations will be. I know we can do this by being clever about our data — there are tons of opportunities there, but the service also has to cater for a certain amount of (what I’m currently calling) “structural serendipity” i.e. our structure needs to enable users to “stumble on” something like a report, publication, or person that might be useful for them, even though they probably weren’t expecting it. That’s where the value for our leaders will lie and will be the reason they will keep coming back.
If you have any ideas about “designing for serendipity” I would like to hear about them (a quick Google search tells me there must be some great stuff out there).
There was a lot of end of year finance stuff to be done which took up a lot of my time and took a lot more backwards and forwards emails than I would have liked, if someone can please get these teams Google Docs at the soonest possible opportunity I think it would be very useful, not least in just preserving people’s mental health.
On Wednesday we had 39 people attending the One Team Gov breakfast, and I got to meet some lovely new people and some old friendly faces.
On Friday I helped Nour by editing and publishing this article for her about how the Exploring Future Leadership team will build a course within FutureLearn. We need your input so please follow the link to tell us your thoughts!
I’m sure I did much more than this. My week was busy and I was ready for bed by 8.30 most nights. I’ve been consistently waking up at 4am, and have been having some seriously odd dreams which I guess must be a result of dealing with the cognitive load of… * looks around *… all this. My moods and energy have been oscillating wildly. I was grateful of Friday, my non-working day where I had the time to spend with my little man and have a rest. Unfortunately it lead to a migraine in the evening. But I think I’m ok now.
Anyway, this has been a difficult weeknote to write and I can’t seem to push it for anything more. I think my brain is full, I can’t reflect so easily, only report. It will have to do for now. I tried.
Have a safe week, see you soon xx