Feature image via: Arnel Hasanovic via Unsplash
by Rose McClement
As I sit and contemplate the last few months of 2020, it feels totally surreal.
As I slowly begin to emerge from living through a Worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic, hectic S.A. Lockdown and all those issues that flow and follows in its wake, I have to ask myself “Did this really happen? Is this still really happening? Am I really experiencing an extraordinarily time that will no doubt make its mark in world history? Something like WW2 and Mandela!”.
These same questions crossed my mind during the initial worldwide lockdown period when I sat staring at the images of empty city street scenes – streets, public plazas, curbside cafes that would normally be abuzz with people. One remarkably familiar and local empty street scene image stuck with me. As I gazed at the images Cape Town’s famous Camps Bay Main Road with not a car, bus, taxi, person in sight the brevity of the situation hit home. That was totally surreal and bizarre. Something not witnessed by me before.
Then the adjusting into living in isolation, transitioning from working in the office to working from your ‘new home-office’, communicating via online platforms, wearing masks to the shops, etc. Who would have even begun to imagine at the start of 2020 that all of that would be our day-to-day reality? I always imagined that the year 2020 would have some sort of sci-fi-esque characteristic about it, like flying cars, robotic labour, etc. A movie-type pandemic, however? Nope, that was not the kinda sci-fi I had in mind.
Closer to home, the Lockdown-need for Design Monarchy (Marica and myself) to work digitally from our respective desks / home office setups was nothing new for the two of us. For a good many years it is something that we had transitioned into and adopted as a way of working. We use Skype, Whatsapp, TeamViewer, and the like as our online tools. Thus, it was business as usual for the two of us. We were fortunate enough to have a Beauty & Wellness Spa interior design project to occupy our time and attention (watch this space for forthcoming visual delights and the back story). We were mainly working on the ‘behind the scenes’ stage of the project. Fortunately, we were also well versed with sourcing and shopping online thanks to Marica’s extremely well-honed and developed online research skills. I am telling you she can find the proverbial needle in the Online haystack!
There is also something to be said for working in an overall collective ambience and atmosphere of quietness. No phone to disturb you, no unnecessary communications, no pressure to perform, no deadlines, etc. I really found immense benefit in that setup and, the truth is, I miss it. Yet that said, getting right back into the swing of ‘normal’ is also welcome.
Hmmm, so what else can I share about our COVID-19 Lockdown experience as a small business enterprise?
One thing is for sure, it gave us the much needed and desired time to once again turn our focus to the development of our online offerings. That is something that we have been nesting on for more years than I care to remember. Its gestation period seems like forever. That said, I have come to appreciate that this time of nesting is crucial to the process of giving it life.
Back in 2010, we started down this road entertaining one potential offering online – a prospect initiated by Marica’s strong Millennial inclinations and ideas. At that point, we had no cooking-clue how to initiate it, structure it, or even action it. Without boring you to tears let me just say that over the years, this online offering has evolved into something that we are now so comfortable with, laced with a growing sense of excitement. This whole curious exploration that happened during the passing years to this point, has been quite a learning curve (both personal and business). I have learnt to accept that everything will show up when the time if ripe and ready. It has been a process of note and I guess will continue as such. I have come to expect nothing less. I had to tell myself that a good few times during Lockdown, as I witnessed the massive swing towards online sales, online activities and programs, propelled by Lockdown. Those who had already established their online business and services were in the enviable position of experiencing a business boost (again, I say – watch this space).
Lockdown and working from home also presented the perfect opportunity for the exploration of the ‘Home Office Space’. One could not miss the plethora of articles written about creating a comfortable and personalised ‘work from home’ space. Suddenly everyone was on the ‘how to make your office space at home something unique’ bandwagon. As well as ‘Make your Home Office your Heart Space’, etc. I was a bit miffed cos that is something that I wrote and spoke about a couple of years ago. Now, suddenly, it was trending to talk about that. Oh well!
I notice though, that this type of interior article is still being churned out. While many of the relative tips and tricks were rather good, a good few were just way too generic for my taste buds. I was tempted to jump in as well, but I felt that my voice might get lost in the crowded space. Strangely enough, there was also no inclination to write about that.
COVID-19 – not quite done and dusted yet. This morning I watched yet another Jerusalema Challenge video. Seeing the nursing staff of a medical facility do this dance touched me deeply. Particularly within the context that not only have they nursed and supported their COVID patients under pressurised circumstances, but also lost many of their colleagues and doctors.
I just want to take a moment to salute all the First Responders and Essential Service people who held it together with us during the early stages and onwards. Looking forward to being able to flexibly navigate the days ahead.
Right-tee-oh peeps, I think enough said for today. I enjoyed this chat about a novel period in our lives and history. I would so LUV to hear one or two comments from you, our audience just to share what COVID Lockdown was like for you. Did you hate it or love it? Were you able to draw benefit from this time or not? Do you have a ‘new normal’ or not? Or are you so over this thing now? Oh, please do write, even if it is one sentence.
Until next we speak. Cheerio