Working During the Lockdown

June 8th, 2020

We didn’t see it coming, we were not prepared at all when we saw the notice that everyone should work from home. The next morning, we went to the office to get our computers and internet. We had a short meeting with our directors and decided we should have a staff meeting every morning to keep each other updated.

In the beginning it was very strange. There were funny videos on social media of children interrupting their parents’ Zoom meetings. It happened to one member of our team and we laughed about it. Some of us were struggling to find a balance between personal and professional life. Some had to work from their beds.  One person worked very early in the morning, because neighbors made loud noise during the rest of the day.  All this was affecting our energy and performance. But, as the days went by, we got used to the situation and working from home became our new normal.

As we develop online courses, most of our work could go on as usual. However, projects which involved traveling and meeting people face-to-face were disrupted.

Meeting every day, from Monday to Friday, seemed a bit too much in the beginning, but later it helped us to keep our work spirit alive. Every morning at 9:30 we’d share what was going on in our lives and what we were planning to do that day. We’d share our progress, ask for feedback and schedule small meetings to brainstorm. We even shared our inspirational quotes every week to keep us inspired.

Our main challenge was our internet connection.  Often, we started a team meeting to find that one or two people had dropped out. Thankfully there was always the telephone as backup.

We also had joyful moments. If you follow us on social media, you might have seen the story about one of our learners who completed all of our courses. Such stories keep us going. It was good to see that more people than usual visited our website during lockdown. Can you believe that eighty-eight people did the course Introduction to Water Management? It warms our hearts to see courses on our website are being used by Rwandans. It gives us hope that e-learning will really be the future for us.

On May 4th we returned to the office. We had missed each other and we were happy that everyone was doing well. There have been changes of course. We moved the office layout to maintain social distance. We wash our hands frequently and wear face masks.

We hope that you have had a fruitful lockdown and now that you are back to the office we hope that you are adjusting well.

Gretta Ishyaka