By Lauren | January 19, 2021 | 0 Comment
If you asked me a year ago if I ever wanted to be 100% remote, I would’ve given you a “hell no”. The idea of working from home, although sounds glamorous and convenient to some, to me, in a tiny Toronto bachelor apartment it did not. I’ve turned down jobs prior to COVID that were entirely remote for this reason.
Fast forward to March 2020, and all of a sudden we are all forced to work from home. Thinking it was only for two weeks at first, it was kind of (for lack of a better word) fun! When two weeks turned into a month, which turned into, now, 10 months, as much as I’ve adjusted to being at-home, I definitely still miss my previous way of life and work.
However, despite my want to go back into the office, working from home has definitely taught me a lot. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last 10 months:
Don’t get me wrong, working from home definitely has perks. For starters, it allows better flexibility. I find I can accomplish more in a day, such as having a load of laundry on while working, starting dinner earlier, working out on my lunch break, etc. Saying that, it also definitely comes with lows. You don’t get to see your colleagues, have face-to-face meetings, you miss the company culture, having a proper desk set-up, and meeting/onboarding new team members properly. You get the point.
All in all, working from home permanently isn’t for everyone. Many people will never go back to office life, many people hope we do 5-days a week, and for me, I hope we at least have the option. I’d love to be able to work from home part-time, and go into the office when I need a change of scenery.
Also, RIP to my desk plants.
I lasted about six months before I finally thought it was time to cave and buy a proper desk and set-up to work from home. As mentioned, I live in a small space, and the idea of a desk taking up my precious space didn’t sound appealing to me. So for the first six months I worked from my high-top kitchen table that I’ve had since college with uncomfortable wooden chairs.
For the first few weeks, my back felt like it was broken, but sadly, it adjusted, and the set-up did the trick. But let’s be real, it’s annoying to have your workspace where you eat dinner. So onto Wayfair I went and I caved to make the perfect set-up I could with limited space.
The truth is, if you want to have better productivity, and actually feel like you’re “at-work” you need a proper set-up. On top of that, you need a chair that doesn’t make your back permanently ache.
Was it worth it despite my hesitation to invest in a proper set-up? Yes. Will I get rid of this set-up as soon as we go back to the office? Most definitely.
I’ve seen this floating around on social media a lot since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s the concept that if you aren’t feeling as productive as usual, and you’re being hard on yourself for it, remember you are in the midst of a global pandemic.
These are not normal times. You have been forced to give up a lot of what made your life “normal”. Some of us haven’t seen family in a year, have missed out on major milestones in their lives, and in general, we’re all mourning the loss of our old lives.
For me, I think I have to constantly remind myself of this. Ten months in and for the most part I have adjusted and I’m used to this new “normal” but that doesn’t mean I like it or that I don’t have hard days. I’ll have depression and anxiety that comes in waves, and sometimes all I can do with my day is get-up, turn on my computer, and sit silently in meetings. This is okay, and I’m thankful to have a team that is really understanding of the importance of mental health and having these off days, especially now more than ever.
If there is one thing I’ve learned overall this year is acceptance. Even though this can be a hard pill to swallow and I have days where I get so frustrated and annoyed that we aren’t back to living our lives yet, it’s important to recognize that we need to accept the things we can’t change.
Of course we can do our part by staying at-home, washing our hands, following the rules, but overall, we aren’t in control of everyone and everything else. And that’s just what we need to accept.
If there is anything this pandemic has taught me it is that. Yes, I still get upset when things get cancelled, or I can’t do the things I want to, but at the end of the day I accept that it’s out of hands and out of my control.
This year has not been normal. We have been forced to adapt in so many ways. We’ve been challenged in ways we never thought we would. Suffered loses that we couldn’t even imagine, and I’m sure one day we’ll look back at this and be able to pull out so many morning learnings then just the ones that working from home has taught me. Until then, let’s just stay home, wash our hands, and get through this. Preferably ASAP!