Updated: Apr 21, 2020
One day you go to work, a location separate from your domicile, and you’re told you have to work from home for at least the next two weeks. In theory, even given the current frightening state of the Pandemic world, that’s pretty sweet. No commute, shower and makeup optional, and perhaps an added hour of sleep in the morning. And yoga pants for two full weeks, yay! Hey, maybe being home with the hubby and kids will be lovely too. We can have lunch together. No kids, even better! A puppy following you around and sleeping under your desk while you work...hello awesomeness.
Day 1-2 of “Project Work from Home.”
Adjustment period, obviously. The pitter-patter of little ones running around or the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy, look what I can do” are completely understandable… this is new, we will figure it out. "That silly puppy jumped on my lap during my video conference, and everyone thought it was adorable." Your significant other has kissed and hugged you every time you come out of your office area and, awww, you feel so loved and at peace. This will need some work, but isn't it just lovely? Still all good and you didn’t even have to wash your hair. Tomorrow is a new day. It will get better.
Day 3-4, reality strikes.
You’re at home AND at work ALL THE TIME. And your loved ones are your coworkers too. You hesitate to go to the “lunch room” (i.e. the kitchen you used to enjoy cooking in) for fear of it turning into a chat fest about “breaking news” on COVID-19 or kids asking you for a million random things when you need a break from WORK, which is HOME, but not. You're feeling harassed by your spouse who is simply being supportive with his hugs and asking you if you’re OK. And the dog, he wants to play Frisbee… AGAIN … because you are here, and not there, at your office 20 miles away, where he can’t see you. You need a moment, but you can’t get one. And suddenly, a shower sounds great because maybe you can take that moment alone. But will it work? Will they find you again? There is no toilet paper at the store and you shouldn’t go anyway, but what a great excuse that would have been to escape! Apparently everyone needs to hoard toilet paper now, right? No, not a good idea. A walk around the block perhaps? “Nope, they will follow me, I just know it.” There is no exit strategy. You’re in it for the long haul. Can’t sleep. Everyone is out of control. Do these humans have a bedtime anymore?? "I wish this house had an HR Department."
Day 4-5, "Operation Work War from Home" has commenced.
This has become a covert operation where you hide in your office, claiming to be on a call, locking the door, hoping it will end soon. Will it ever end? You know there is a true Pandemic sweeping the world and this isn’t the most important problem to resolve. But you’re tired, confused, anxious, maybe a little guilty for feeling this way… and the children, the spouse, the pet you love so much… they are becoming those pesky coworkers that need need need…. This is War. The pitter-patter of little feet, like bombs to your upcoming video conference. You’re not prepared. Social media is a blur of virus and positivity that make no sense and you my friend are now a Prisoner of War (POW). You’re weak, your concentration is flailing, and what day is it anyway? “Is this one of those days I need to put a decent shirt on for a video conference?” Doesn’t matter. "Did I just hear there is a statewide shut down. God, no!!!!" You’re a POW now and it is time to raise that white flag.
Don’t give up! You’re not alone in your experience of this somewhat dramatized (but, from my conversations and experience, quite accurate) series of events. Working from home, or remotely from anywhere, is not easy even in the very best and most prepared of circumstances. But it is possible to condition yourself and your loved ones to adjust to this change for a healthier work and home life. You are not alone! Stay tuned for tips to make Working from Home a healthier and more fulfilling experience!