Globally, many of us are all in the same unfortunate and unprecedented situation because of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19. I am fortunate to both work in an industry where I still have a job and for a company mostly unaffected by COVID-19.
Sadly, for many, this is not the case as people find themselves out of work through no fault of their own. For others, they find themselves working remotely; for many, it’s their first time.
With many countries in some kind of lockdown, unnecessary travel has meant we can only leave the house for essential purposes like food and exercise. It’s a difficult time for everyone for a multitude of reasons.
I have been fortunate to already work remotely for the last two-and-a-half years. Working remotely is not a new experience to me, but working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic is a unique and trying experience.
I want you to know as someone who worked remotely before this, that if you’re finding remote work difficult right now, this is not what is usually looks like. It’s not this difficult or stressful; it’s terrific if done right.
I am not the most outgoing person in the world, but not being able to go out for dinner, to a Cafe, for a nice breakfast somewhere or catch up for a beer with a friend. You do not realise you are more social than you are until you can’t be.
Right now, there is no separation of work and life. We work at home, and then we stay at home. We sleep and wake up at home, and we work at home. The need to run errands and other non-essential activities have taken a backseat for us all for the time being.
We are all stressed. We’re currently experiencing COVID-19 news fatigue, distant from friends and family. For those of us who have kids, they’re probably at home and causing some new logistic problems to work around.
For many suddenly forced to work from home, it sucks for you right now. Many are probably begging to go back into the office and have some kind of colleague interaction. The situation you find yourself in right now is not remote work; this is self-imprisonment. People shouldn’t be forced to work remotely, merely given the option to take it or leave it.
For our family, we have two young kids at home. My wife is studying to be a nurse, and she relied on our 4.5-year-old energetic sun going to kindy so she could study and complete all of the extra subjects she took on to finish her degree faster. All of a sudden, he is home, and our 1.5-year-old daughter exploring cupboards and draws is as well.
The house is chaotic at the best of times, sometimes it’s Armageddon as our son, in particular, is used to playing with other kids, playing on the playground or doing things outside. He loves the science centre and Dreamworld theme park, both of which are not possible right now.
Don’t let this pandemic warp your perspective or make you think that working remotely is always this stressful and terrible; it’s not. When all of this passes, I hope many give it another go and realise that working from home during a pandemic versus not working during a pandemic are two different experiences.
If you are struggling to work remotely right now, that’s to be expected given the circumstances. But, when things go back to normal (whenever that is) you will appreciate the flexibility and cost-savings of working remotely versus an office and commute.
Times are tough for everyone right now. We will get through this.