WFH – The New Frustrating Norm And Resilience
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Frustrating. I think that’s the word of the year. The best way to describe 2021.
See, I recently turned 22 years old and I thought at this age I’d be living my prime. I’d graduate from uni, find an amazing job and make friends with my colleagues while also saving up enough money to travel the world. But not at all, thanks to covid! So that’s what I mean by… frustrating.
Making the Most Out of a Challenging Time
However, I was able to tick one of those goals off my list. To get a job as a producer. Since the lockdown, like most people, I actually had nothing to do. So I decided to spend my time wisely by working on my resume and portfolio. I had been putting it off for so long because it is such a tedious task but at this point, I couldn’t complain because I was stuck in my house 24/7. Next came the application process and to my surprise, there were quite a few jobs hiring through this challenging time period. I then got a job offer as a producer for My Recruitment+, but with covid cases rising and lockdown restrictions getting tighter, working from home would now be the new norm for everyone… including me.
So what does the new norm look like?
Well, let me tell you. Working from home consists of various amounts of zoom calls in my pajamas and waiting on people to get back to me. My laptop is now my new best friend and my internet connection is now my new worst enemy. Working from home is a real love-hate relationship for me and here are all the reasons why…
My biggest love about working from home is the no travel time! I wake up 5 minutes before work starts, roll over out of bed towards my desk, open my laptop and begin my day. When normally, I’d wake up at 6 am to shower, do my makeup and eat breakfast before my 1-hour commute to work. I get a lot more sleep working from home and get an extra hour in the afternoon free instead of traveling back from work to home. It’s definitely improved my work-life balance. I’m saving on expenses as well. I have no excuse now to spend $10 every lunch and grab some takeaway but instead, I have to open my fridge and dig deep for something to cook. I also feel more independent in my role and that I can really take control of my duties without always being checked on. It’s great – I feel there’s a lot more trust between me and my boss.
Boy oh boy are there some cons when describing what working from home is like. First and foremost is definitely the lack of communication. It is so difficult to get a hold of someone. My workplace uses Slack as our main form of communication and when I send a message to someone, it’ll usually be 2 to 3 hours before I get a reply. You might be asking well why not call them then? Well because when I call, they’re already on another call with someone and then have calls lined up after that one. You really got to be first in best dressed with the whole trying to get ahold of someone and communicating with your colleagues. Very frustrating. There’s also a sense of workplace disconnection. I want to meet and actually get to know the people I’m talking to every day. I don’t just want to know these people by their Slack profile pictures. If we were back in the office I feel as though there would be more of a sense that we are a team. Continually, the feeling of increased isolation is real. I’m in my house 24/7 with lockdown and now I’m sitting at my desk for 8 of those hours in my tiny bedroom. It gets a little stressful staying in the same place for such a long period of time and not getting up and about. The only real movement I have been getting is from my desk to my fridge and that’s about 12 steps.
How To Overcome These Working From Home Challenges
All I can say is use Google Calenders to your advantage. Keep everyone in the loop and schedule meetings. This way communication is clear, frequent and then your colleagues will set aside time in their schedules for you. Moreover, change up your workspace location. This may be difficult depending on how many other people are working from home with you but if you have a different spot in the house you can work from then switch it up! Maybe even work from outside. Get some fresh air, enjoy the sun and stretch your legs out. A new environment can bring new ideas and new motivation to you. Furthermore, have your camera on while on video calls! I know it’s a little nerve-racking, especially if you’re like me and you’re in your pajamas all day and you don’t want people to see that. However, if you turn your camera on it allows for better interaction while apart and it’s nicer than just looking at a blank computer screen. Next up is to use your extra time wisely. If you’re saving heaps of time by not traveling to and from work, use the time you would’ve spent to do something you enjoy. You deserve it!
Yes, Working from home is the new norm and yes it is terribly frustrating time for all of us. But utilize this time effectively to improve your work-life balance. Make sure you are communicating constructively and being productive. Change up your workspace to allow for a change of scenery and let new ideas flow to you. Hopefully, if we all work together and get through this lockdown, working from home won’t be the new frustrating norm and will be a thing of the past. Resilience is key.