I’m glad that I still have a job, that my life isn’t wholly impacted by the pandemic we’re in, but to say that nothing is different just because I was already a remote worker would be wrong. The effect the pandemic is having on everyone around you has affects your life. It seems obvious to me, but apparently that fact is lost on a lot of people. I’d expect that’s not the case for those who read my blog, but I thought it’d be worth reflecting on anyway.
At Work: Users
The first week or two during the transition period, especially in the US, where the majority of our users are, there was definitely a slowdown in the number of questions and requests we got. Once people got settled in though, the number surpassed the previous normal.
We can only speculate on why, but my best guess is that for those used to an office environment, they may or may not have the same resources in close proximity or at least don’t see it that way, so they might reach out sooner in their problem solving process than before.
At Work: Coworkers
A lot of people have had to take time off, some only while helping others to adjust, while for many, having kids at home full time means a big adjustment. I know of a couple of cases where they’ve let their team know they cannot work 100% while this is ongoing. So, overall, there’s been at least some slowdown.
For some, they’re working less contiguous blocks, often splitting their work to do some during the day and some after the kids are settled in for the night. Often, even for those who are used to having kids part time, the separation between work and personal time has blurred because they no longer have the same “standard” work hours.
On the flip side, with the higher number of user requests and less team members to work on them, I feel busier than ever. I’m grateful for a manager who will tell me to just take a day off, because I was definitely overworking and even being on the path to burnout is never a good thing.
Outside of Work: Physical Health
While it’s manageable with at least a minimal amount of exercise, I have come to somewhat rely on going to see health professionals to ease the aches and pains that my body has. I can only begin to imagine the difficulties of those who have been relying on them regularly (as I used to), not to mention all the non-critical surgeries that have been postponed.
I know that many struggle without access to facilities, like a gym. While many of them are perfectly able bodied people, I can also understand that it can be part of a standard routine, and much like anything else, if your body is not getting something it’s used to, things can start feeling off.
Most people know that I’m an introvert, but a lot of people seem to think that means “you like being alone” and that this pandemic is perfect for introverts. Being introverted typically means needing a certain amount of alone or “quiet” time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to or want to socialize, especially in smaller groups. After so many weeks of isolation, I don’t feel a dire need for contact only because I live with my partner. I certainly miss seeing friends and family. I’m likely to visit as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Even for the work/professional life, I lament the fact that our in-person all staff was cancelled, and that the conferences I planned to attend have gone online. I still massively appreciate the work that goes into organizing them, but I’m sure most people know that an online event just isn’t the same.
For work in particular, beyond the “hallway track” and opportunities to socialize, it means that I still don’t get to see or talk to those people who are in a completely different timezone.
Working from home is very different from being “stuck” at home. Dealing with change that you have no control over will almost always have some affect on a person mentally. Everything I’ve mentioned is hardest mentally. Beyond that, while there have been other factors, I can only say that it’s been a challenging and somewhat stressful time even for someone who works at home full time.
Stay safe and take care.
If you need some extra positivity in your digital life right now, some of the social media teams have been doing a great job. I’m especially a fan of the aquariums, zoos, and wildlife organizations that have been both positive and doing educational pieces. Here are my favourites: