Reflections on working from home
On looking forward to the days when we can all get back together again (in person)
Well, here we are. Spring has sprung and all I can say is, “Yikes.”
With so much suffering happening in the world right now, it has been difficult to remain positive. One thing that has lifted my spirits during this crazy time, much to my surprise, is work. While I still don’t jump for joy when I receive a meeting invite, the moment I enter that virtual meeting room and see the faces of my coworkers something odd happens. My back suddenly loosens and I smile, genuinely, sometimes for the first and last time that day. It’s been incredibly inspiring to witness my team’s ability to remain positive and show how much they care for one another’s well-being. Each of them perks up at the sound of someone saying they need help or input, even on their low days, proving that we are still here for each other. Instead of a stroll across the room, though, it now comes in the form of a Teams notification. Thank goodness for GIFs and emojis.
Now that we can’t be around each other, I’ve noticed how much physically being around your co-workers can cheer you up on a bad day. That moment when you’re visibly frustrated and just want to keep to yourself but then a co-worker shows up and forces your mood to change for the better is gone now. It’s been a challenge to not have that, especially when the hard days are coming around more frequently. I am more grateful now than ever for technology and the ability to see those friendly and familiar faces. Sometimes I think this can only go on for so long, that inevitably their cheerfulness will fade and the stress will start to show in my co-workers, my supervisors, our admin. They consistently prove me wrong and I couldn’t be more grateful for all that they’ve done to show us they are staying strong in this wild, wild time.
For me, though, I think the greatest challenge has been the absence of our student workers. I miss them. Their insights are invaluable, and they are truly a pleasure to work with. While we’ve wrangled them into a few Zoom meetings just to say hi or to film a fun interview for our next newsletter, work is different without their warm energy around to help fuel our creativity. As we continue to find ways to keep them in the virtual loop, I look forward to the day we can again work and laugh together in the same cozy library.
As far as adapting goes, I’ve done my best to seek advice from newsletters, webinars, and the internet in general. People are pulling together through the internet and it has, in turn, helped me keep myself together. There is endless advice on how to stay focused (Pomodoro technique, anyone?) and so many podcasts on happiness and positivity. I go on a preposterous amount of walks each day and I’ve discovered the magic of Tai Chi beginner lessons on YouTube. I’ve also taken the time to analyze my tasks and projects rather than just doing them to get it over with. Understanding the reasons and importance of what I’m doing has made it easier to want to be productive. Everything that any of us are working on at this moment is going to play its part in helping our organization make it through, no matter how small or tedious. So, let’s keep going just like any good engine would and remember that this won’t last forever. Soon things will be back to some sort of normal. The bad will go away but so will a lot of this WFH good so let’s be grateful for this moment, too. Before we know it, we’ll all be having to find a parking spot again.