Working at Home During COVID-19: How it’s Different

Hey there, Alice again, writing from Decorah, Iowa. 

At YMN, we’re all used to working from home: that’s how we operate! Our team is spread across the country- from Portland, OR to Portland ME, and everywhere in between. 

Youth MOVE National offices have always been virtual so we’ve mastered virtual office tools like Zoom, Slack, and Asana to keep our operations flowing smoothly. (Check out Matt’s blog post for tips and tools to stay productive while working from home – all tried and trued by our team)

But… “working from home in the midst of a pandemic” is different than “working from home”. Not just on a logistical level, or because our usual routines & social activities are thrown off course, but because the world and our new normal has changed. This isn’t just about suddenly being forced to work from home: it’s about adjusting to the unknown. 

Woman working from home

At the beginning of this pandemic, I kept seeing social media posts about taking advantage of this social isolation time to be productive: get super fit, write a book, learn a new skill, start that house project, etc. It took me two seconds to go from inspired to overwhelmed and anxious. Some days it takes all I’ve got to make sure I take a shower. This article really resonated with me

 “Consider it a good thing that you are not in denial, and that you are allowing yourself to work through the anxiety. No sane person feels good during a global disaster, so be grateful for the discomfort of your sanity. At this stage, I would focus on food, family, friends, and maybe fitness. (You will not become an Olympic athlete in the next two weeks, so don’t put ridiculous expectations on your body.)

I find peace in realizing that although we are all impacted differently, we are, on some level, ALL in this together. So even though we’re a few weeks in, I still get a little caught off guard when someone doesn’t address the situation we are in when they write an email (even just by saying “hope you are well!” or “stay safe!”), or act like everything is great and normal on a conference call. Know that at YMN, we do not think things are normal. We’re all coping differently, and sharing ways to cope and manage as best as we can, even if that just means checking in with co-workers that day or not crossing that big project off our list. Our team is sharing ways we are managing our hurdles – from homeschooling, to self care plans, to supporting chapters virtually

Youth doing work at home

In conclusion: it’s okay to feel whatever you feel. It’s okay to take it one day at a time. It’s okay to not be okay. You don’t need to try and set unreasonable goals or expectations of what you will accomplish during this time (homeschooling + getting all your work done + being a good friend/partner/parent/carer) most of us are just trying to make it through the day. Or as this article says: “Stop Trying to Be Productive – The internet wants you to believe you aren’t doing enough with all that “extra time” you have now. But staying inside and attending to basic needs is plenty.”

Articles:

“Consider it a good thing that you are not in denial, and that you are allowing yourself to work through the anxiety. No sane person feels good during a global disaster, so be grateful for the discomfort of your sanity. At this stage, I would focus on food, family, friends, and maybe fitness. (You will not become an Olympic athlete in the next two weeks, so don’t put ridiculous expectations on your body.)”

– Alice Topaloff

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