Wellbeing during lockdown - With BBC Apprentices and Claire Paul


Claire Paul 0:00
Hi, I'm Claire Paul, I head up the BBC apprenticeship programmes and I've been doing this job for a few years. And we have around 250 apprentices who work with us at the BBC, and thank goodness at the moment, they're alright and their on-programme and things are okay. But obviously, at the moment, it's a really, really difficult scary, frankly weird time for all of us in the country, and not least for many apprentices, lots of people on the front line in retail in the MOD, in the Health Service, lots of people locked down at home wondering how to deal with, you know, learning and all that stuff. And then there's people who were being faced laid off, because their companies are doing pretty badly at the moment, and also being furloughed as a word that I have never heard before, but lots of us are using it at the moment. And so, what we thought we'd do is just join together, a few apprentices have a chat about how it's feeling at the moment, in terms of trying to work from home trying to cope with all the things that are  going on and delighted to say two apprentices here, here now Dexter, who's a digital marketing apprentice, and Katie, who's a chartered manager apprentice, welcome. How are you?

Dexter 1:15  

Hi, Claire, I'm good. Thank you.

Katie 1:17  
Hello, Claire. Good. Thank you.

Claire Paul 1:19  
So, did anybody know what furloughed meant? In terms of before all this happened? Or is this a new word to you as well?

Dexter 1:26  
No, it's completely new. And I think it's gonna be like the word of the year. I think it would be all over the place for the next kind of couple of years now.

Katie 1:34  
Yeah, to be honest, I didn't really know how to say if it was furloughed wasn't quite sure until you sort of hear about more and more people on the news getting furloughed and then yeah, it became pretty apparent what it was but never heard it before this-

Claire Paul 1:50  

Because it's funny because everybody and apprentices are in very very different places that some really go through a tough time, and you know, listening, listening today others, you know, carrying on like you are so difficult in a way to know when you say, 'How's it going?' It means different things to different people. But how's it going for you two?

Dexter 2:12  
Go on Katie, I'll let you go first.

Katie 2:14  
Yeah, I would say, for me, I have. I work for Pearson, which is an education company for people that aren't aware and work in the online programme management sector which basically has become even more busy than I was before because all of the programmes that are generally taught face to face and are going online, which is really interesting, but also has made it busier. And I have got deadlines coming up in a couple of weeks to for my apprenticeship side so it's busy, but I would probably be complaining if I was bored.

Claire Paul 2:54  
How's it going in terms of busy life still carrying on for you? And yet you know, all of us are having to cope with this weird situation, you know, in our own heads and our families and our friends and whatever, how's it feeling kind of trying to fit both of those things together at the moment in your head.

Katie 3:11  
I think at first, I struggled because I felt like I would wake up, go downstairs, put my screen on, do some uni work and then switch to my work screen and then switch straight back to my uni work screen after work and I just began to think this isn't sustainable. So, I have a strict structure to my day now where I get up and do some exercise and I won't start work until I'm supposed to start work. And then I go out at lunch for my allowed daily walk, and then in the evenings, that's when I'll focus on my uni work which is what I would normally do.

Claire Paul 3:50
Are you doing that thing when you go out and where you see people coming and you do a wide circle around people, are you doing that as well?

Katie 3:59  
Well, I mean you have to be really careful, don't you? So sometimes I'll cycle and sometimes I'll walk. But if you're on a bike, I feel obliged to make sure I'm going around everyone. But also, like people, some people just walk in the middle of the pathway. So, it's like, where do you want me to go? So, I try to keep my distance as much as possible from everyone. But everyone's in the same boat, aren't they? So, I think it's just about respecting everyone else's space.

Claire Paul 4:29  
It's funny because when you say in the same boat, it's probably the first time in my life where everybody really is in the same boat. You know, there's just absolutely everybody's caught up by this and I don't think I've ever I've never felt that in terms of before in terms of, you know, just everybody being focused on one thing.

Katie 4:48  
Yeah, and when is it gonna end? I think this is a big question for everyone. I mean, you know, they're saying they don't know, you know, was going to be three weeks, it's now going to be longer. They've got no idea. So, I think there's that uncertainty as well, amongst everyone that, you know, they don't really know when it's going to all stop.

Claire Paul 5:12  
Dexter to how are you managing the kind of what I'm calling the work and worry? Are you the day job goes on? You've got to meet the deadlines. But there is that sense all the time underlying that the news and everybody's talking about this?

Dexter 5:25  
Yeah, it's a big struggle, actually. So, I think the problem is the news in a way, I think is easy when you're stuck at home, to kind of watch the news, read the news and be so kind of overindulged in the news that it's all you hear. And it's just constant talk about Coronavirus, and someone saying, 'oh, it could all be over by then' and then someone else comes along and says, 'Oh, it's gonna be six months.' And I think there's so many different stories that you don't really know what to believe. So, it's kind of best just to take it day by day and kind of get on with your workload or focus on something else and that's kind of what I'm trying to do, so I've got obviously my work and I've got my uni work. So, if I can kind of structure my day and focus on that, then it becomes a lot easier.  

Claire Paul 6:09  
So how are you staying healthy because that's one of the biggest things I'm finding that you know, I get up in the morning I sit down, I still got my day job. And if I'm not careful, I don't get up to six o'clock. And my legs have stopped working?

Dexter 6:20  

Yeah. So, I've been doing the Joe Wicks workout.

Claire Paul 6:24  
Alright how's that? I haven't tried that yet.

Dexter 6:27  
Yeah, it's really good. Actually, I'd recommend it. Yeah. So that's been kind of getting me up. And it's another thing just to add to the routine. But it also obviously gets you ready for the day. And then I've been trying to kind of eat healthier because obviously I've got more time in the day to do so. Just kind of turning time into a positive thing and seeing how you can use it and what you can do with that time.

Claire Paul 6:47  
The problem I've got, you talk about eating healthy, I'm going to be honest here. I think you know, I define my eating over the last two weeks as eating the fridge.

Dexter 6:57  
Yeah, I kind of eat out of boredom a lot of the time so it's kind of constantly eating isn't it? So, it is hard to kind of to eat healthy I think, and I do find myself kind of constantly rummaging through the fridge or the cupboards trying to find what's, what's next to eat.

Claire Paul 7:12  
How are you coping? Katie have you got any tips for kind of really how you manage the food and make sure you don't eat everything in one go?

Katie 7:20  

Um, I think it's, it's like, what I'm trying to get into my head is I commute quite away into London every morning and back every evening, and to get to and from work, so that in itself, and then I walked about a mile to get to work so I'm like, I need my breakfast in the morning. So, I'm a very big breakfast person. So, I still have my breakfast now, but then, whereas I'd normally have like a lunch and then maybe quite big dinner like I don't need that much food if I'm not being that active, but I am the same as Dexter. I get bored and I think maybe I'll have a snack. And go and eat a chocolate bar, which really wasn't needed, where they could have, you know, an apple or something. So, I think it's just about thinking, am I actually hungry? And if I feel like I might be a bit hungry, I have a glass of water. And then if I'm still hungry, I'll eat. And if I'm not, then I’m like no I'm just bored.

Claire Paul 8:18  
Yeah, so having a structure to your day and kind of really, really looking at being healthy and controlling your food and being sensible to that is going to be important, you know, for everybody, you know, whatever situation we're in. I just wonder, because we've been talking about this, at work in terms of the way this is now when it's all over, what you know, it can't just it probably just won't go back to being as it was just things will possibly be quite different. Are you starting to think about that? And do you think things will be the same or do you think actually a few things will be different when we go back to, you know, whatever normal is.

Dexter 8:54  

I think a lot of things will change, because I think things that we used to see as barriers are now seen as opportunities. So, across the board from work into education, obviously exams aren't going ahead this year, so whereas exams have always seen is like the be all or end all, we're now going to have to look at alternatives to find kind of the right person for the job, in the workplace, I think offices closing, companies are going to see that they're saving lots of money. So especially in large organisations, they may now kind of look to decrease their office space and kind of have people working from home more often. And I think people will be changing and we can see that you can work from home, but I think he's getting that balance because I don't think anyone wants to be working from home five days a week. But I think there's definitely kind of opportunities now for people to work at home maybe once or twice a week and then go into the office the other days.

Katie 9:50
Yeah, I agree and I also think that people are gonna appreciate like that interaction with human beings more because we often say at work, like, you know, you go to a meeting, and you might have back to back meetings all day, but in between those meetings, you still have two or three minutes, maybe five minutes to get a cup of tea in or you're just walking back to your desk. And it's having that time away from the screen that sort of enables you to refresh yourself. Whereas if you've got back to back meetings, when you're remote working, you are, you just literally log off one call back onto the next on to the next and you're constantly staring at a screen or constantly talking. And so, I think people will appreciate that sort of social interaction and being able to move around with co-workers a bit more. And also, in terms of hygiene, I don't know whether we'll see an increase like there has been in other countries in wearing masks or gloves. Which, you know, isn't that common in London. People just kind of get on with their day. So, I think that'll be a big adjustment in the lots cities where a lot of people work.

Claire Paul 11:01  
Yeah, certainly the feeling, I think, you know, lots of people talking is that things will be, you know, things will be a bit different, really just looking ahead to when it's all of whenever that is and hope, heaven forbid, hope it's soon. We all do. Is there one thing, just finally, one thing that you think you know, of all the things I've missed, or I'm going to miss over the next month or so, the thing you want to do most when you can come out your house and be normal again.

Dexter 11:28  
I think it’s the small things. So just kind of actually getting on a train and going to work I think God forbid big things. I mean, they're going to come as a shock when we do finally get to go out. But kind of yeah, I mean, just being able to go meet my friends and you know, go and have some food with them or have a drink with them, it's gonna be kind of amazing. And I mean, a lot of us are missing out on other opportunities, obviously whilst we are in lockdown. So, there's things that have been cancelled and missed out on and I think it's easy to kind of be upset and annoyed about that, but at the same time, what we've got to realise is when we come out of this, even the smallest things are gonna seem really great.

Claire Paul 12:07  
How about you Katie what's on top of your bucket list?

Katie 12:11  
I think it's just gonna be like, like Dexter said, appreciating the smaller things. Like going to the supermarket and not having to queue up to get in and go around a one-way system. Again, seeing friends, I think a big thing for me is my granddad and I'll be able to actually go into his house and sit with him. Because at the minute I sit outside in the garden and talk to him through the window when I take him his shopping or, or his prescriptions or whatever it might be. So, I think that's going to be the main thing for me just being able to actually go into his house and make a cup of tea rather than taking one round in a flask and sitting in the garden is it's just a strange concept.

Claire Paul 12:55  
Well listen, Dexter, Katie, thank you for taking time out to chat today and I wish you and your families all the very best through this really difficult period and also huge, huge success with your apprenticeships as you go forward. I think the one thing for me I'm constantly worried about is when I look at the loo roll pile is whether or not, whether I've got enough stockpiles, but then we're all in that situation. Thanks to Katie. Thanks ever so much.

Katie 13:20  
No problem.

Dexter 13:21  
Claire. Take care.

Katie 13:22  
Thank you.