Our team works from Barcelona—here’s how we’re managing lockdown during COVID-19

Confinement isn’t all bad...but it isn’t easy, either.

Most of the time (barring global pandemics and the like), the majority of the Foundations team works from our headquarters in Barcelona, Spain. But since March 13th, our team has been working from home and getting used to the new normal under some of the strictest lockdown rules in Europe, all in the hopes that together, we can #flattenthecurve.

And while we’re deeply grateful to be able to work from the relative safety of our homes, adjusting to the evolving circumstances of this very unique moment in time hasn’t been easy.

Because even though there’s a lot of good mixed in with the bad, social distancing can make the days feel long and lonely, video calls and all.

What we miss

Across the board, what we’re pining for most are people...and experiences (with people). Keeping reading for more on exactly what we’re missing:

Friends and real-life interaction

"Seeing friends in real life and going out for dinner!" - Emily, Product Manager

"Social closeness: going out with friends for a meal, a drink, or a walk on the beach." - Silvina, Strategy Manager

Changes of scenery

"Actually...I miss my commute! I usually bike to work so it was a great way to fit movement into my daily routine." - Oriol, Tech Lead

"I miss dedicating different moments and environments to different things: working at the office days; family, and resting at home evenings; and free time on weekends...now everything blends together and life feels more monochromatic." -David, Design Director

The good stuff

Pretty much everyone on our team agrees, one of the surprisingly good things about confinement has been connecting. Here’s the bright side (according to the Foundations team) of current circumstances:

Connecting with people

"Our team has really rallied together—we still make each other laugh, even while remote. Also, I’ve spoken to more friends this last month than last year." - Sarah, User Researcher and Service Design

"Having more time with my wife and kids is the best. Since the quarantine began, my son—he was born last July, has started crawling, got his first two teeth and will probably say his first word in the next week or two (I’m certain it will be Dad!)." - Jacob, Creative Director

"It’s been great spending more quality time with my partner at home and I’ve also had a lot of fun video-chatting and being silly over the internet with my family and friends." - Cris, Head of Marketing

Working from home...works

"I’ve discovered that I can work efficiently from home, which makes me consider doing it more in the future. And working from home means I can pursue a personal goal on breaks—learning to do handstands." - Iñaki, Senior Research Analyst

"Before this, I was afraid of working remotely. Working from home for more than 2 months sounded really hard and it was, at first. But I’ve been able to overcome my fear and do my job successfully." - Daniel, Software Engineer

@christinhumephoto via Unsplash

The bad

Everyone, including those of us who are sheltering in place with a partner or children, is feeling lonesome for more social interaction, and more emotional in general. Read on for more from our team, in their own words:

Frustrated and lonely

"I’m more easily frustrated and irritated for no discernible reason and generally fatigued and less motivated." - Jonathan, Product Manager

"I live alone, I haven’t had a proper interaction with a human being in the last 40 days. My boyfriend is in the same situation in the Netherlands. Isn’t that the pits?" - Martina, Design Strategist and Product Lead

Juggling commitments

"I  have two kids (4 and 8) and it's really daunting to keep up with work, school lessons, having fun with them, and providing them with some sort of routine and safety net." - Roberto, Software Developer

"As a single mum working from home with three children, It’s difficult to keep on top of my work, support my family, and make time for myself. So I have given myself clear stops and starts to avoid work overflowing into my evenings." - Sophie, Content Lead

How we’re coping

For the most part, we’re dealing by making an extra effort to work movement into our days and draw clear lines between working and relaxing hours, aka, sign off at the allotted time, and stop. answering. emails. Read on for more on how we’re managing our wellbeing during these strange circumstances:

Movement, mindfulness and hobbies

"When working remotely stresses me out, I do wall push-ups, play piano, or do pretty much anything that involves stepping away from my screen." - Chris, Content Marketing


"Yoga helps me feel better. I’m also doing embroidery and reading about mental health and learning a lot." - Marta, Digital Marketing

"I’ve committed to exercising. If for no other reason, then for the endorphins. Also eating well. Getting creative for mealtimes makes this all a bit more manageable." - Tracy, Content Writer

Boundaries and breaks

"I’m intentionally switching OFF to spend time with my partner. And when I really need to relax I play with my dogs or bust out my fiddle." - Mel, Agile Coach

"I’m finding time for short, mini-breaks. Sometimes I use them to do breathing exercises, play the Echo game or work on my thoughts in Foundations." - Helena, UX/UI Designer

"When I feel stressed working from home, I go out to the balcony, get some fresh air and sun, and drink some water." - Andreu, Full Stack Engineer

What comes next

As the current situation evolves and we get back to spending time with our friends, family and coworkers in person, there are a few things we’re committing to, post quarantine:

We’re going to hold on to this idea of how important it is to connect with other human beings, especially when we’re tempted to grumble about meetings or social commitments.

We’re going to make a regular effort to keep communication lines open with people we care about who don’t live locally.

We’re going to maintain clear boundaries between working and not (and stop checking our emails during time off).


What’s living through the pandemic like where you are? What’s your team doing to cope? Let us know at foundations@koahealth.com.