These are surreal days. In a matter of a couple of weeks, America has gone from dismissing COVID-19 as a “hoax” to scrambling to limit contagion. Much of the world has done the unthinkable, shutting down public spaces and canceling major sports and entertainment events.
With workplaces shutting down, a lot of companies are moving toward telecommuting.
I did this for 8 years, working with colleagues on the other side of the planet (Sydney, Australia) to produce a men’s lifestyle website called Savvy.com. Then I continued it when I changed jobs and joined a TV network based from Los Angeles.
As an introvert, I absolutely loved it. I could go to visit the beach as long as I brought my laptop along and got my work done.
Really, the toughest part of it was dealing with attitude from the guys at the same company who resented me for being allowed to work from home. The boss would fly me out on occasion to build cohesion with them.
I recall on one of the first trips, I was set up in the team room and a co-worker seated three feet away dinged me on Yahoo Messenger rather than talking to me. It seemed rather ridiculous.
Another occasion, I struggle to concentrate on what I was attempting to write as a co-worker talked on his phone or let out a big sigh. So annoying! Internal office interactions can either be a blessing or a bunch of distracting bullshit.
My next job after that was teaching college classes online. Awesome.
The next job after that, I returned to an office setting — cubicles, no less. Talk about a huge adjustment! Not only did I feel self-conscious, but I’d forgotten how much energy is spent exchanging pleasantries, grooming to impress, and driving to and from the office on a long commute. After almost a decade of saving so much money not putting gas in my car to drive to work, it felt like my wallet was hemorrhaging.
While I am sad and frightened about this coronavirus situation, I am actually excited that a lot of people are going to discover the benefits of telecommuting. I predict that many companies will realize how much money they can save. When I needed to meet with someone, the corner coffee shop worked well enough.
I don’t know how much more productive the country’s employees will be, considering they didn’t really have a choice. Personally, I was so appreciative that I worked extra hard to remain productive. It’s easy to lose track of time if you are salaried and lack clear boundaries between the home office and the home everything else.
Some other tips for successfully doing telework from home:
- Separate work life from home life.
- Get “ready” for work.
- Establish “office” hours.
- Divide up your day.
- Set up the proper environment.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Don’t constantly monitor your cellphone.
Not all jobs can simply be shifted to home. My heart goes out to everyone who is out of a job, at least temporarily, while we get through this catastrophe. I think of my friends who are bartenders, servers or musicians. They are no doubt struggling right now.
In regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, I hope everyone will stay strong and use this time self-isolating to do constructive things like reading books, working out, deep cleaning their homes, etc.
This is a tragic situation, but we can get through it. It’s important for everyone to participate so we can slow the spread of this virus and avoid overburdening our health care system.
I’ll be hard at work bringing you the news. I take this responsibility very seriously. There’s so much misinformation going around, it becomes essential to print only reliable details that people can trust and count on. I’ll also do my best to entertain folks with my photography and blogging, sharing past content I’ve created while awaiting the day when I can collaborate to make more of it.