Work Life Balance

Balance During a Pandemic: Day in the Life of COVID-19 Lockdown

Even with the world feeling like it’s upside down and cities across the globe in lockdown, life still needs to go on for a majority of people. Our conversations about work-life balance these past couple months have centered around how we’ve all had to adjust to our new work settings.

Below are examples of professionals – social worker, product manager, blogger, software developer, designer, HR executive and founder – from different countries, careers and lifestyle talking about work-life balance and a day in their life during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Anna Wenngren // VP of People & Culture at SafetyCulture, an Australian startup helping companies achieve safer workplaces through mobile first products.

In a COVID-19 remote working environment, a typical Monday morning usually starts with an early morning run to mentally prepare for the day.

My first meeting is an executive team alignment meeting to share our teams’ areas of focus for the week and to discuss any company priorities that need attention. Then I have a meeting with my people team, where we discuss our projects, identify any obstacles and/or areas where collaboration may be needed.

Usually I have a couple of meetings with line managers after that. I try to take my lunch break outside, before I spend the afternoon doing some planning work, responding to emails and reviewing my team’s work.

To finish the day, I shut the door to my home office and mentally disconnect for the day with a walk around the block. This simulates walking home from work and I find it’s a useful way to tell my mind and body to switch off.

Raffaela Bethke // Product Manager at Hyper Anna, an Australian startup that taps into business intelligence and delivers real-time insights from natural language requests.

Hyper Anna allowed everyone to work full-time from home a week before it was properly enforced by the government.

We were already using all the tools that enable a company to make the most of a distributed team (i.e. Slack, Zoom, Miro, Figma etc.) as we have a small team in Singapore, so in terms of tools or ways-of-working, adapting to remote-working full-time hasn’t been a big deal for us.

That being said, working from home full-time is a big change for me.

At Channel 7, I used to work from home 1-2 days per week and be in the office for the rest of the week – this personally, was my sweet spot. I thrive off being around like-minded people and the dynamic in an office, but I also enjoy the quiet when I need to focus and get stuff done – which can be hard in an open-plan office.

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Tiffany // co-founder and CEO of The Stoke Fam, a blog about family adventures and travel, where she is responsible for content creation and growing the business.

Truth be told because I work from home, and we also homeschool, each day varies. In normal times, our schedule includes one day a week where I drop the kids at an outdoor school and another day at co-op classes.

Our current schedule looks a little different due to COVID-19, but our overall routine has stayed mostly the same.

Over the last several years, one thing that we have found is that sticking to a routine over a regimented schedule is most effective for us. Thankfully, my kids are no longer super early risers, so a typical day for us starts between 7-8 am.

I will get up, workout, start coffee, and shower while my boys (8 and 10) work through their morning routine as well. Next, up is a couple of hours dedicated to helping them with school. Occasionally, if they have something they can work on independently, I will utilize that time to respond to emails and messages. However, I save the larger chunks of work for the afternoon.

After lunch, the boys spend time on chores and reading before they move into free time, which allows me a few hours of dedicated time to work on the blog before moving into the evening routine after my husband comes home.

If I’m working on a post or project that needs a little extra attention, I may work through dinner while he takes over or for a while after they are in bed. That said, one of the most important things for my sanity is being able to have downtime at the end of the day with my husband, so I do my best to protect those hours.

Liza Gold // New York-based clinical social worker, currently working at Comprehensive Therapeutic Services as the Clinical Supervisor & Operations Manager.

Life has been altered radically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’ve had the fortune to be able to work from home. As you ask about a “recent” workday, I’ll open a window into what that looks like.

Yesterday, I “met” with six patients, some via Zoom and others via the telephone, whichever they prefer.

I had my first patient at 8:40am, and my last of the day at 2:00pm. I then hosted a Zoom meeting for a young therapist I supervise.

Typically, these meetings would happen face-to-face, in a comfortable office setting. I also participated in a couple of calls with coworkers in upper management to brainstorm ways that we can improve upon working conditions for other clinicians working from home. We want to ensure that our staff feels heard and supported.

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Justin Hunter // co-founder & COO of SimpleID, a platform focused on increasing user engagement and retention in blockchain applications.

Thanks to COVID-19, my life each day looks a little different than it used to. With both of my kids home from school and my wife working from home, we’ve got a full house.

So, my day usually starts at about 6:30 am. I’ll drink my morning coffee, catch up on emails, and then start trying to generate leads. This is a relatively new approach for me, by the way. I’ve found that the success rate I have with sending emails and messages early in the morning is much higher than any other time of day. But I digress.

At about 8am, I’ll take my dog for a walk with the family. From 8:30-9, I do what has now become the hybrid school/work calendar for the day. I will look at my meetings for the day and my tasks I need to get accomplished, and then my wife and I write up a schedule for our kids’ school work around that.

From 9-12pm, it’s a mix of work, meetings, and helping my kids with school work. Lunch and another walk happens around noon.

Then from about 1pm-3pm, it’s more of a mix of work, meetings, and school work. From 3-5pm, I have a little more focused time, and this is when I tend to do development work.

Julia Fletcher // designer, photographer, and content creator based in Manhattan, NYC, where she is currently freelancing for Second City Prints and AdHoc Presents.

Since COVID has taken over, the music industry has been on hold which has been especially hard for those of us who rely on gigs for income.

While a typical day not in quarantine would look like photographing shows for AdHoc or Alt Citizen, or designing posters for upcoming gigs, everything has shifted and visual artists in the music industry have to get creative with how we source income.

For me, that’s been designing my own merch and selling it through my online store to get some extra rent cash.

I’ve also been super vocal online about taking freelance gigs, so I’ve been working on various projects that have shown up in my email inbox — from album artwork to merch lines!

Every recent workday has been remote and work from home, so that typically looks like managing my online store and getting orders processed and shipped out, working on content for Alt Citizen, and designing merch for various bands through Second City Prints.

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Dr Joanne Orlando (PhD, M.Ed, B.Ed) // leading international expert on family and digital lifestyles, as well as the founder of TechClever Education.

There is no typical day, and really enjoy the variety of work that I do. As we are currently all working and learning from home during COVID, my work is currently focusing on helping adults and children manage their new intensified technology lives as best as possible.

If I take you thought my day yesterday:

  • I wrote an newspaper opinion article on how online learning is affecting families and teachers.
  • I prepared and presented a TV segment on healthy and safe family screen time habits during COVID.
  • I am undertaken a research project on how confident parents feel guiding their children’s technology use. I am collecting data via Facebook so worked on my data collection methods.
  • I am writing a book on how to live a great digital life, and spoke to my new publisher about the chapter breakdown of the book.
  • I worked with UK Cabinet on understanding the impact of learning from home during COVID for children and families without adequate technology access.
  • I developed new content for my TechClever course for parents.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.