Once again the country has been gripped by adverse weather conditions and in some areas that grip has been a strangle-hold. Just yesterday the reports from Scotland included people stranded for hours on end and overnight on the motorways & a-roads of the central belt.
For me the weather has an impact on three fronts, my employment, my calling in the church and family life.
The effect on the family is the ability to move around safely for things such as school for the children, purchasing of food etc and heating in the home.
Conditions such as those experienced in the last two weeks highlight the providence of good preparation & planning ahead of time. The motto of a “stich in time saves nine” and the idea of being self-reliant are important pragmatic principles in such times. Having an adequate food storage or larder stocked with food can help alleviate the need to have to journey out when the weather closes in.
The need to heat the home is also important for basic survival and if one can have a back up way of generating heat then all the better. It is almost inevitable that the boiler will break as soon as the temperature drops! Oil filled raditors, calor gas heaters are useful to have around the house to provide back up if necessary.
Now if you were going the whole hog how about a little generator to provide electricity should the mains fail. Unfortunately we haven’t got to that level of preparedness yet but it is possible and I am sure there are those who do have the ability at home.
I am fortunate and blessed that I work in an environment that enables me to have a virtual office. Through secure VPNs, the Internet, voice telecoms, mobile networks and video conferencing I can take my office wherever there is connectivity to the internet. With advances in mobile data speeds through 3G mobile networks and enhanced coverage access is more readily available. When the weather closes in though all of this technology allows me to set up my computer and work from home, so long as there is electricity and I have the will power and discipline to do so.
So work can go on and in my case with this recent weather, even increase in productivity as the normal distractions in the office environment such as people approaching one’s desk and endless, all encompassing meetings seem to dwindle. It appears that because one is not physically there then sometimes problems that another came to see you about no longer seem that important and one is left to continue the work that is important to oneself.
The final area for me affected by the weather is my responsibilty in the church.
My role neccesitates a number of meetings and interviews and some of these may have to fall by the wayside when travel becomes difficult. I have found though that a lot of this work can also continue by the use of web, telephone & video conferencing. I have even tried my hand at webcasting during this cold spell.
In much the same way as work life can continue then also can the work of the church. It may require some adaption though as this technological solution does not replace the need and desire to meet often to uplift, edify & instruct one another. There is a warm edifying feeling that comes from meeting face to face and enjoying human interaction. This is an important and vital part of ministering to people that is so necessary when dealing with spiritual and emotion needs of individuals which is a lot of what religious worship caters for. What the technology allows is for the administering of the church to continue so that the precious time that is available for ministering is not consumed with the necessary administration.
“Technology won’t make people interact.
It only gives them a forum to do that.
If you want people to use technology to collaborate,
let them get to know each other first.”
– Maridan Clements