Life in Lockdown: Jon Renyard

In our latest “Life in Lockdown” interview, Jon Renyard, Secretary and Registrar at Arts University Bournemouth, shares his personal experiences of life and work during lockdown. Jon offers advice on working remotely, considering the needs of staff, and crafting homemade kettlebells.

What is your proudest achievement since lockdown began?

Keeping up with exercise. Before lockdown I was in the gym pretty much every morning before work. I had very serious doubts that I would be able to keep that going in my lounge.

But two-litre milk cartons filled with water make quite passable weights, in the absence of kettlebells!

What is your greatest challenge at the moment?

Managing a workload which has grown exponentially.

When we first mooted a need to work from home, I imagined that within a couple of months most of us would be running short of things to do.

In fact, the opposite is true. It is busier than ever – and preventing that from bleeding into the rest of life can be quite difficult.

How are you finding working from home?

It’s amazing how quickly we adapt.

I now find it quite hard to remember what it was like to go to the office every day. On the few occasions I have gone in, it’s been a bit of a military operation: dress accordingly, take tea, milk, lunch, laptop, webcam, cuddly toy… Is that the future?

Working from home is absolutely fine, but managing screen time is hard. All day, I look at a screen – whether on video calls or email or whatever. Reducing screen time to sensible levels is the next objective.

What have you learned about yourself during lockdown?

Maybe I like real people more than I thought I did.

What are you most looking forward to once lockdown is lifted?

Three-dimensional people.

And serendipity – those chance conversations that happen without planning.

What will you miss the most about life in lockdown?

About an hour a day. I have a very short commute, but the trappings associated with the office – see above – all take time.

What one piece of advice or lesson learned in lockdown would you share with members?

Perhaps the most important lesson is underscoring to yourself, and especially staff, the difference between working from home and being at home. It is essential to demarcate those.

And don’t mistake ‘more convenient’ for ‘better.’

And definitely don’t mistake ‘more convenient for me’ for ‘better for everyone.’

Yes, virtual meetings are fine, often save a lot of time, and people have shown that they can be trusted without someone watching over their shoulder.

But don’t mistake that for meeting everyone’s needs.

Jon Renyard is the Secretary and Registrar at Arts University Bournemouth.