Working from Home During Covid-19

It isn’t all rainbows and sparkles.

I’ve been working from home for a good part of my adult life. Being a web centered person makes it easy, especially when you are a bit of an extroverted introvert. Most of the communication strategies are async in nature. At Automattic, we rely heavily on Slack for realish-time comms, and a lot in the p2 infrastructure. We can Zoom to get facetime with clients and colleagues, and emails are infrequent, but useful.

On one hand, I feel incredibly grateful for the flexibility that I have in my job. Hunkering down and focusing on work has been beneficial. On the other hand, I have been feeling a great deal of stress that I haven’t been able to come to terms with.

For those that know me, I am a pretty even-keeled individual. Right now, the open-endedness of the COVID-19 pandemic seems particularly stress-inducing. We don’t know when kids will be back in school, if we will be able to travel, or return to any normalcy in the foreseeable future. This feeling often translates to grief, and accepting rather then avoiding can help find resolution.

From the Harvard Business Review:

What do you say to someone who’s read all this and is still feeling overwhelmed with grief?

Keep trying. There is something powerful about naming this as grief. It helps us feel what’s inside of us. So many have told me in the past week, “I’m telling my coworkers I’m having a hard time,” or “I cried last night.” When you name it, you feel it and it moves through you. Emotions need motion. It’s important we acknowledge what we go through. One unfortunate byproduct of the self-help movement is we’re the first generation to have feelings about our feelings. We tell ourselves things like, I feel sad, but I shouldn’t feel that; other people have it worse. We can — we should — stop at the first feeling. I feel sad. Let me go for five minutes to feel sad. Your work is to feel your sadness and fear and anger whether or not someone else is feeling something. Fighting it doesn’t help because your body is producing the feeling. If we allow the feelings to happen, they’ll happen in an orderly way, and it empowers us. Then we’re not victims.

We need to let go of what we can’t control, and embrace what we can. Also from the article, it’s a good time to stock up on compassion.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

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