To say 2020 has been a year of challenges is an understatement. Everyone has their own story about enduring triumphs and tribulations while working from home, helping neighbors in need, and overcoming obstacles never imagined. Some of us are still experiencing the lows, while others have adjusted to our new normal. It’s safe to say life will never be the same as it was pre-COVID, but is that a bad thing?
On March 12th, I informed my boss that as of Monday, March 16th, I would be working from home. This virus seemed to be getting worse, no one understood it, and now my kids’ school was moving to all online instruction. For the safety and well-being of my family, it was important for me to be home. I could assist with schoolwork and keep my family healthy and safe. That is when I realized my true fear was coming true – I had to work from home.
I am a people person who likes to separate work and family. I am not great at the work-life balance, so I have always strived to keep the two distance. My commute, though short, is a nice way to start and finish my day. I can think about my goals for the day and/or reflect on my accomplishments. Or I can just turn up the radio and jam out to whatever song is on.
Over the years I have talked with many people – my husband included – who rave about the wonders of working from home: the short commute; saving on gas and clothing; the convenience to start and stop your day as you choose. Whatever. I did not want to be one of those people. Then COVID-19 hit.
Now here I was— laptop set-up on the kitchen table, papers and file folders stacked up next to me, all while across from my 5th grader. How can I write my client proposals while hearing her in a video meeting with her class? What if I didn’t know the answers to her questions about assignments? What exactly is a Zoom call?
To be honest, the first week was a struggle on all levels. Our sweet family of four (and our dog) was spending WAY too much time together. My husband, who is used to working from home, had his world turned upside down with constant walking and chattering on the floor above his office. By March 23rd, the entire office was working from home and I was able to share what I was learning with my co-workers, who were now figuring out their own balancing act.
Now, four months later and back in the office on a more regular basis, I can reflect on what I learned not only about myself, but about my family and co-workers. My key take-aways include:
- Keep to a routine – This was a lifesaver for me. I set my alarm, exercised, and got my kids up by 7:30am to have breakfast and be ready to start school. Schedules were more fluid, but the routine helped me stay focused.
- Get dressed – I tried the professional top with the pajama bottoms…it lasted an hour. I had to dress up for work in order to feel ‘work ready’. Sure, a little more casual with shorts and top (not a dress or skirt), but not pajamas.
- Use video calls to stay connected – Again, I am a people person who really enjoys spending time with my co-workers. It was nice to know I could randomly video-call any of them just to say hi or ask a question. It kept us connected. We also started hourly exercise call outs to keep us moving.
- Flexibility is key – I took calls wherever the quietest place in the house happened to be at that time. Sometimes, that was the bedroom closet.
- Appreciate your network – At the end of the day, we are truly all in this together. And we will get through it together. The time at home has made me appreciate how ‘grown up’ my kids have become and to not ‘sweat the small stuff.’
No one knows when we are getting out of this. It is just important we are stronger, wiser and hopefully a little more compassionate than where we started.
About Our Blogger
Jaclyn Grieshaber has over 14 years of experience in national, regional, and local media buying and planning. Along with her extensive knowledge of traditional media, Jaclyn is extremely focused on keeping up with the ever-changing industry standards to provide the best information and advertising approaches for her clients.