If you would have told me in January that a large percentage of the population would be working from home, I would never have believed it. I have been watching the rise of the remote workforce and even had the opportunity to work with teams and leaders in creating a remote environment. However, I think it’s important for us to remember the place of words and the power of mindset.
You see we are not simply working from home because we are telecommuting or we have the opportunity to work remotely, we are at home in the midst of a crisis but still trying to work. There is a HUGE difference between the two. Working from home for many people carries with it the imagery of a luxury home office, great internet connections, and the perfect chair, with the perfect view, and little to no distraction. You know the space I am talking about where you can crush your to-do list, where you find your zone and often accomplish more than at the office. That is not what most of us are experiencing.
Being at home in the midst of a crisis and trying to work, is altogether different. This implies that life is anything but normal and that we are often reacting to change happening around us. It’s not put together, it’s rather chaotic and sometimes might even feel a bit thrown together, or if I am honest, hanging together by a thread. Being at home in the midst of the crisis for many includes, hoping the internet connection stays up long enough to get through the meeting or praying that kids don’t start fighting so that you don’t have to mute your mic to remind them that YOU ARE TRYING TO WORK! Or hoping that people can’t clearly see my background because I think I forgot to pick up my underwear before heading into my remote office otherwise known as the corner chair. On top of it all realizing that, oh yeah, today is the day the neighbors said they were going to start their new roofing project.
We are all navigating this new world, while at home in a crisis, while we are trying to work. Yet some are also wrestling with other realities as well: things like company downsizing, furloughs, unemployment, mortgage payments, kids NOT going back to school and the list goes on and on. Being at home in the midst of a crisis means we have to cut ourselves some slack. Most of us will struggle with wanting the same amount of productivity as normal. Realize that you are not alone in this battle. Work toward a routine (as much as possible) and understand that the mental and emotional toll we are all facing is different than anything most of us have ever encountered. That means taking clarity breaks to clear your mind, get a breath of fresh air, call a friend, send a text, or read a blog (like this one). Take time just for you, it’s vitally important for your own mental and emotional well-being. Taking care of yourself is just as important as the work we are tasked with completing.
Words are important and so is mindset in times like these. So, what are you doing to take care of you? What kind of routines have you established? Yes, this is new and won’t last forever, so let’s embrace being at home in the midst of a crisis, trying to work, and do our best. Look for ways to take care of you, and for a perspective shift, look on the bright side: things like your commute is short, you are saving money on gas, coffee, and eating out, you get to see and spend time with your family or significant other and be home for lunch every day. Most importantly you are safe and healthy. We humans are resilient and we will get through this. Just don’t forget yourself in the process. YOU are important! And maybe your supervisor/boss needs to read this to help us all stay focused during this time.
Be well and keep leading!
Boise State Center for Professional Development