25 April 2020 – Working during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
It is fair to say that work life has changed significantly during the panademic. Many people are currently furloughed from there job, and from my own conversations there persists a great deal of uncertainity as to what society is going to look like when social distancing is relaxed. This, however, it not my experience.
Prior to the restrictions being put in place, Saturday (the day that I am writing this) has traditionally been the buisest day at the bakery in which I work. Normally we would server hundreds of people, have a shop full of staff and not have a moment to relax throughout the 10 hour work day. This has all changed since.
To list just a few differences: whilst the shop used to be 3 deep at the counter, we now have a maximum of 2 customers in the shop at one time. This has changed our work flow siginificantly, whereas before, it would be a free-for-all to serve customers as they reached the counter, now it is much more rigid. As well as this, our working hours have been cut, this was expected.
There has been a financial impact of the pandemic, for many that has been a reduction of there take home pay to 80%, for myself it’s more like a decrease of 35%. Going from a consistent 25 hours a week, to 16 has highlighted the stark hypocracy of the title of “key worker”. This has also caused some issues with my own mental health, there is something quite stressfull about having to work a customer facing job, for minimum wage during a global health crisis.
And finally, the biggest change has been that of the attitude of the customers. I have found that, on the whole, customers have adopted these to changes fantastically. Very few of them have complained, although many have acted forgetfully over the social distancing proceedures (this may of course be due to the fact that they are only leaving their house once or twice a week). Personally, it has been heartwarming and encouraging that a significant number of people are “thanking us for staying open” or even just telling us to “stay safe”. From my own experience, it appears that people are taking this seriously.
This, however, comes with a flipside. The main topic of conversation with customers (and with my collueges ) throughout the day is that of COVID-19. And it is draining. Assuming that we served roughly 400 people today, I do not believe that a single conversation with a customer (excluding those with children that had been sent in) was not about the pandemic.
So, this is my reality for the time being. I have 4 days off work and then 3 on. During this time there is a constant stress that I have contracted COVID-19.