Like me, you are probably now ensconced in your home, trying to get used to working remotely. I just completed my second week and to be frank, I'm not enamored with it.
Every year around mid-January, especially when a heavy dumping of snow is in the forecast, I fantasize about being able to stay home and not be compelled to brave the treacherous roads. "I wouldn't even need to get dressed! I could just stay in my warm jammies, flip on my computer and voila!" Granted, that would be ideal...for a day.
The reality is, yep, I don't set my alarm. I do get dressed. I stumble to the kitchen and start the coffeemaker; I eat; anything and everything I shouldn't be eating.Then I start work. The first couple of hours go fast. I'm absorbed in my every-morning tasks. Around the third hour, things begin to drag. I start to feel that now familiar twinge in my back so I shift positions, pull my foot stool out a bit farther, stretch out my legs until they start hurting, too; crank my sagging chair back up to its original height; count the minutes until morning break. Working solo is not what my job is supposed to be -- I'm a trainer, so I work with people. I solve problems; I teach. Now I do busy work. I pitch in with whatever claim needs to be processed -- competencies that thirty-one other people in my department are well qualified to do.
At nine o'clock, I don my coat and head outside to stretch my legs and my back and to breathe in nicotine-free air. I see one or two other people -- one walking her dog; another jogging past me (I wonder if I should hold my breath or just act naturally). Then I come back inside and dig into my snack stash. Over the past twelve months, I lost thirty pounds, and it was a lot of work and drudgery. Now I'm going to gain it all back in a month.
Eleven is lunch time. A half hour to stuff my face and find a different place to sit for a few minutes. One o'clock is afternoon break -- another outdoor sojourn and more snacks.
I miss human interaction. Email does not supply instant gratification. I miss shooting the breeze. I miss toddling down to the cafeteria with Lori and making jokes about the food choices. I miss having people around me, as exasperating as they can be at times. I miss running into people from other departments in the hall and commiserating with them about our jobs.
After two weeks, though, the picture has become clearer, and I am determined to shake things up a bit. Our CEO has informed us that this whole telework thing will extend through May 4. I think it will be longer. It's time to pull myself together.
Remote work or not, I need to do the job I was hired to do. I can do something about that, and I will -- via email. I need to feel useful and not simply like someone putting in time. I can't do anything about the chair situation other than continue trying different configurations. I'm not ready to invest in a new office chair that I'll only need for two and a half months, tops.(I wonder if I'll even be back in the office in time to have a retirement party.)
Things I've managed to accomplish this week:
- For the first time ever, I had groceries delivered. It went relatively well. Target is cheaper than the local supermarket. Just don't try to buy paper towels.
- I ventured outside and experienced actual human contact by visiting my convenience store at five a.m. My husband and I scoped it out before going inside and managed to pick up our essentials (me: nicotine) without encountering any sickly people. My favorite store manager, Rebecca, seemed happy to see me.
- I painted my nails.
- MY ABSOLUTE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I got my stereo speakers hooked up to my computer. I am currently listening to SiriusXM, and lord how I've missed music! Music is manna from heaven.
Things I haven't accomplished:
- Being able to sleep. There are a few reasons for that -- I am in mourning (something I'm not ready to write about right now) and I also don't do well with abrupt life changes.
- Stopping eating things that are bad for me. I'm just going to go with it for now. These are desperate times.
- Finding a purpose; but that's about to change.
DO'S AND DON'TS:
- Don't keep cable news on all day. Watch the first fifteen minutes or scan a local news site for Corona news. Then be done with it.
- Do inhale a hot cup of java. That first cup of the day will spark your synapses.
- Do walk! I'm no exercise fanatic, but the cool, clean air breathes hope into your lungs.
- DO find a hobby. Please don't lean on Netflix as a crutch, or if you do, keep your hands busy while viewing the paltry offerings. I'm a crafter, which alleviates the total Netflix boredom.
I'm a pretty adaptable person. Sometimes it just takes me a while to figure things out. This is my new normal. I'm ready for it.
And it will get better.