Shedding Light: Making the most of lockdown – monthly column featured in Crown Publications’ Sparks Magazine

Last month I wrote about being faced with our COVID-19 lockdown. Many of you would have found new ways to work at home and, hopefully, the information I shared about the software we use very successfully, was useful to you. As I write, we are three days away from the initial end date of 16 April before it was extended by a further period until 30 April. I have decided to write about the ‘lockdown times’ rather than the subject of my speciality which is the field of lighting. There will be time enough to return to lighting. How have you coped with the lockdown, the isolation in your homes?

In our home, we have kept to the rules for the lockdown without any deviation. We are four in our household so decided to take it in turns to do the essential shopping twice a week; in that way each person is able to get out of the house, albeit in a brief and uncomfortable way. We each have our own masks which are only worn just before getting out of the car.

We wear disposable gloves which are removed after shopping before we get into our cars. They are unrolled in such a way that they form a ball and are inside out so that we minimise touching the glove surface that had contact with anything in the shop. Only then do we remove our mask before driving back home. On arrival at home, the gloves are deposited in the bin immediately. We then proceed to disinfect every item purchased before packing them away. Then we wash our mask and hang it in fresh air to dry, ready for the next time of use. Except over weekends, we wake at the normal time, and keep to our usual routine, getting dressed and ready for work. It is normal for us anyway as we have always worked online from home.

But what else have we done? We exercise regularly, participate in online exercise challenges and generally do our best to avoid being inactive for too long. The household routines such as daily laundry, home cleaning, gardening and other domestic activities, including meals, are maintained. I have always presented CPD accredited webinars for my students, architects and engineers which are very well attended. I continue to do this, with the programmed scheduled to continue for most of the year.

I realised, that for many of those who normally attend the webinars, working from home was an entirely new experience. It is an experience accompanied by times of loneliness, despair and anxiety about the future for their respective businesses. This is a time when everyone needs the support of each other. It is a time when we have to look out for each other in new ways. I launched the enLightened Community using the software that I use for webinars to create an online ‘place’ to meet. It was an instant success. It is a time to chat about any subject under the sun with one condition, all discussions must be positive.

It has become extremely popular. It is amazing to see the eagerness of the attendees to be online before the time which is 12:00 every Tuesday to ensure that they do not miss it. It is attended by students from across the globe and architects and consulting engineers from around Southern Africa. It provides a platform for South Africans to interact with other professionals around the world. Subjects discussed during the informal online meeting include the names of some good wines, good books – both fiction and non-fiction – exercise routines, street lighting, online travel for those who now have the chance to visit some of the destinations that are on their bucket lists, good viewing on Netflix, Showmax (mainly good documentaries) and good listening music to play in the background to break the feeling of loneliness.

We have discussed the excellent rationale behind the lockdown, have praise for the President and his top team. We are proud of them, for their leadership and their example no matter how tough it is and will continue to be for a long time to come. We appreciate that we are nowhere near being out of the woods yet. Of course, I fully appreciate that many of you and our enLightened Community group members are small business owners or individual architectural or consulting engineer practises who are worried about the future prospects for your businesses. I believe that as we bond together in these special groups, we will be better able to support each other and perhaps try to direct business in their respective directions as the lockdown eases and we return to a semblance of normality.

We are fully aware that a long and arduous road will have to be negotiated. Throughout the time of lockdown, students across the world, including the USA, continue to enrol for courses, realising that an internationally recognised qualification will open doors anywhere. Qualified people will have a better chance of future employment than those who have no qualification. I believe that as the lockdown eases and we eventually return to the ‘new’ normal, business will never be the same as we knew it before the pandemic. I encourage readers to use the time to consider every aspect of their business. Strategise and do your own think tank to consider how you can do things differently to attract business and to market yourselves. If you are a member of our enLightened Community, bounce your ideas off other member/s.

If any readers would like to join our enLightened Community, you are welcome to contact me. I will immediately send you an invitation to register which will provide you with the link to join on Tuesdays whilst the lockdown is in place. Send an email to


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