Over the course of the UK’s lockdown from which we are now gradually emerging – I’ve no doubt in common with many Rusters and indeed other people of intelligence and a degree of artistic or creative sensibility – I experienced a wide range of different reactions and moods, some of them uncomfortable and disconcerting and others unexpectedly positive and revealing not least in terms of self-awareness.
Although I wouldn’t want to claim a direct descendant line from the legendary ‘plucky Brits’ stoic and defiant reaction to the WW2 Blitz, there has been a touch of the stereotypical British reserve and understatement often fondly remarked upon by foreigners (especially in North America) about what some in my social circle – and those whose stories I have seen featured in the media – have got up to in terms of keeping themselves occupied.
Some of those furloughed or otherwise consigned to working from home have found the experience interesting.
Widespread is anecdotal testimony to the theme that, to their surprise, hundreds of thousands have found adapting to it has been far easier than they had anticipated and, frankly, in the right circumstances they wouldn’t object to continuing to work from home.
The other side of the employment coin, so to speak, is of course that (by the same token) many employers have come to the conclusion that in future moving away from operating from vastly-expensive urban corporate headquarters and/or office accommodation is potentially a perfectly feasible and cost-saving business model.
My only personal observation on this phenomenon – admittedly from an oldie’s viewpoint, probably reflecting upon my own career – is that I’d suspect that a lot more research needs to be done into the potential loss of ‘team spirit’ and collective blue sky thinking’ that might result from employees working remotely rather than coming together in one place.
My second item of evidence – again an impression gained from media reports – is the ingenuity that many business owners and individuals have displayed in thinking laterally as to how to adapt their workforces and/or businesses (in some cases even starting new ones) in these strange and strained times.
I’m referring here to examples of factories of every type switching to making items of PPE when, in the early days, supplies of this were lacking and desperately needed.
I even saw instances of schoolchildren producing 3-D printed versions of face masks and similar.
Gin-makers and brewers have successfully switched to making hand sanitisers. I could go on.
Many others have created start-up businesses from scratch that in different (normal) circumstances they would never have dreamed of and have suddenly found themselves making fistfuls of cash against all the odds.
In weird times, people somehow discover weird ways of coping.
I’ve come up with one myself.
A while back – for reasons which we need not go into here – I came across an American company that manufactures life-size dolls for a specialist market.
After some online research and a great deal of sustained creative thinking I came up and obtained the necessary patents for the “Nelson”, a new doll ‘character’ aimed at a subset of the above-mentioned specialist market.
It’s that of a ‘older, sugar daddy’ figure, based upon myself, that potentially might appeal both to spinsters of a certain age and the sort of younger lady that aspires to appear in reality TV dating shows – or indeed already does so.
After a somewhat tortuous contractual negotiation last week I signed an initial two-year deal whereby I have licensed the Nelson concept to the company concerned and the first Nelson is now scheduled to hit the market in October.
See here for further details – courtesy of a piece by Jenny Kleeman that appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL