The pandemic has been a tough time for everyone across the globe in all ways — emotionally, physically, and financially. While it has been extremely hard for those running their own businesses, it has also been equally difficult for those working for a company or organisation. Upon being asked to work from home, a huge number of employees went through a collective sense of alienation. All of sudden, teams were asked to halt their daily routine and embrace the “new normal”.
No more daily meetings or weekly huddles for ideation, no more presentations or any kind of other face-to-face interaction with clients or colleagues. In addition to the disruption of the work routine, the daily interaction with colleagues and office friends came to a grinding halt. No more water-cooler friends to speak with, no more team lunches, no personal time with the boss or even HR to express yourself. Everything went online, which was led to a sense of panic amongst teams. It took everyone a few weeks to understand that all this work and more, could be done from home.
But it was not easy as social butterflies found it difficult to adjust indoors. FaceTime and video calls became their most-used apps on the phone. Meetings were held online and now it was the home that needed to adjust to working.
For the longest time, it took us a while to adjust. Now it was the people at home who also had to adapt to you working from home. Recently, offices have started opening slowly and cautiously. But as I wait and watch the world reopen, I look back to what I learned in the last year and a half and how it changed me forever.
Importance of Your Own Mental & Physical Health
Working from home for so long taught me the importance of the little things. It has made me realise how little time I take out for myself and for my loved ones. It also made me realise how important it is for one to spend and invest time in themselves. I rediscovered my hobbies and started taking care of my health. And the most important lesson I have learned during this pandemic is that nothing tops your mental and physical health.
Distance Should Not End Any Relationship
Even though the first few months of the lockdown were hard for everyone. I realised that keeping in touch with my friends mattered quite a bit. Technology bridged the gap of distance and connected with old friends and new colleagues over video calls. If we could do it during the lockdown, we sure can keep in touch with everyone we care about even if they are living far from us.
The Importance of Work Ethic
I realised that in order to thrive in the work from home situation, I will have to draw lines in terms of my responsibilities at home. If I mixed them both, there was going to be chaos. Maintaining a strong work ethic, creating boundaries, and setting timelines make my work from home experience easier. This work ethic has to be backed by discipline and consistency. Once you get the right mixture, you’re good to go.
Making It Work With Co-Workers I Have Never Met
Something I missed out on was the social cohesion with my co-workers. I have been cordial with them over the phone, but I had never met most of them in person. While it worked out during the lockdown, I did miss the in-person interaction with co-workers. I decided to take in my stride and look at the positive. Not being face-to-face meant less chat and more work, giving me time to focus on the daily meetings and my work. It will make it easier to create healthy boundaries and timelines when everyone is back to their old workstations.
There was a big drop in my expenditure. I saved up more money than when I went to work. I was saving up on travel, and the unnecessary take-away meals I would spend money on. I decided to save all of this money to invest in mutual funds. Moreover, this allowed me to spend money else and focus more on myself. Say, health and nutrition. I actively spent more money on healthy foods and learning new skills. There are a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to online courses and I’m sure you’d love to pick one up too.
Well, that’s just my experience of working at a new place in the pandemic. Hope my experience helps and it allows you to reflect and make better decisions about getting back to work from the office or home. Make sure you have a smooth transition from working from home to working from the office if you have to.