You may be ‘working from home’ for the first time during this crisis, or it may be your usual base for working, but is there anything ‘normal’ about this current situation?
I was going to write a long post about finding your purpose, following on from last week’s article. But then this tweet caught my attention.
Working from home? Or at home, trying to work?
It is an important distinction. A point many of the replies make. Even many of those accustomed to working from home make the distinction. There’s a few who don’t get it, as always, and some pleas from people asking for help getting their boss to see it. But mainly agreement.
It also led me to this article.
It’s written to an audience in higher education, but it’s relevant for us all I think. And again, really caught my attention. I’ve spent many years working on my own productivity, and now encouraging others to improve theirs, and I definitely went into that mode.
'How can we make use of this gift of time we’ve been given to find our purpose and be more productive? Let’s all look on the positive side and do what we can to make this awful situation better.'
What I hadn’t recognised in myself, let alone others, is that we are going through a grieving process. I guess I’ve moved from denial to – I don’t know, sadness? Shock maybe? Personally, for me, there have been jokes about how I’m going to cope without getting my roots dyed, and yes, I was initially horrified at the prospect. Now however, the main thing that’s upsetting me on a personal level is that I haven’t seen my granddaughter for weeks, and she will be one next week. It’s breaking my heart that I can’t share these precious moments, she’s learning to walk, learning to talk, and we’ll never have these moments back again. I miss giving her a hug (having her climb all over me), and I miss giving her older brother a hug too.
I’m also adjusting to a new situation at home. I may be used to managing my own time, but now I have a newly retired husband at home, and a furloughed adult son at home. The plans we had for my husband’s retirement are all on hold. We can’t escape to our holiday home in Wales for a few days by the sea let alone any further afield travels. No part time job hunting for him either – he doesn’t want to put his health at risk doing delivery driving or similar.
This article answers so many questions about why I can’t concentrate, why I haven’t got on with a home exercise regime, why I haven’t yet edited all those YouTube videos I have recorded and posted them.
Productivity isn't the top priority
This is my message this week. Realise that we’re grieving, and productivity isn’t our top priority. If you are at home during a crisis trying to work, whatever you manage to get done is an achievement. Apart from your own responses, you may also be dealing with other people. Children who you’re meant to be ‘home schooling’, despite having never had aspirations to teach. Partners who you’re not accustomed to being with 24/7. Other grown ups in your household who want to do their own thing. Who all have their emotional responses to this situation, which won’t be the same as yours.
And if you live alone, well that’s equally challenging in a different way. You might like your solitude, your own space. But surely on your own terms? I have a niece who lives abroad, alone. She is currently confined to her apartment. She can’t go for a walk, go for a coffee, go to work. There’s a shop on the ground floor of the apartment block. That is the only place she is allowed to go. So she hasn’t been outside even. So yeah, she’s definitely at home, during a crisis, trying to work. Not ‘working from home’.
We’ve seen a lot of messages on social media about being kind. We need to be kind to ourselves first, and realise that everyone has different challenges, and we’re all a bit short on the reserves to help others right now, because everyone has some kind of challenge to face in this.
Puropse - does it even matter right now?
I will come back and talk about purpose as I’d planned, but right now I’m going to focus on doing what I can and putting self care first. I’m off to do some gardening – what’s your priority?
Lindsay is the owner of Silvern Training. Before that she had a very varied working life, doing everything from admin, volunteering, sales, teaching, training, fundraising, management and chairing a board of charity trustees. Now wants to change the world of work by improving workplace cultures so that people can look forward to Monday mornings. Also likes to support individuals to speak up, be better listeners and to take action.