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IAVA | March 31, 2020

Read: Working From Home During a Pandemic

Submitted by: Cinthya Fana

The recent state mandates to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were a great show of leadership by our elected officials. The best way to stop the spread of this terrible virus is to avoid contact with others. As many companies have closed their doors, some have allowed their employees to work from home. For those of us that are lucky enough to have the opportunity to work from home, we understand the struggle that might cause. Here is my experience so far with strictly working from home during this time.

Isolation
Isolation is the first thing that comes to mind when working from home. We are used to spending 7+ hours a day with our colleagues, especially those that work in co-working spaces. As an extroverted person, this is affecting me the most. Not only have I built good relationships with my colleagues, but I also actually enjoy working with them on a daily basis. Not being able to interact with them in person daily is making the isolation worse. We have tools to stay connected virtually, but it is not the same. I have found myself ensuring my mental health stays intact by making phone calls and video calls with those I care about the most like my family and my colleagues. As an organization, we will be having weekly calls together to further update each other on how we are doing.

Your Home is Now Your Workspace
For those of us that are not used to working from home more than once per week or only on rare occasions, we may find ourselves unable to focus after the first few days. Yes, the first and second days are gold because we are able to knock things out on our to-do list without the distractions of colleagues always needing things. But after the second day, I am longing to be distracted by them for little things. BY ANYTHING PLEASE!

I am speaking from experience that this week for me has been particularly tough due to the fact that I do not have a “designated” workspace. My routine usually consisted of waking up, going to the gym (#CrossFit), coming home and getting ready for work. I commuted to the office and spent 8 hours sitting there at my desk where I knew it was time to focus. Then I would come home and it was my leisure time. Home is where I watch TV, read books and relax. Now I don’t leave my home, and I can’t go to the gym because all the gyms are closed. So now, I wake up and just start my workday. Did I mention I live in a studio apartment? Yes, tragic!

Now, I know a lot of parents are also home with children and/or spouses. So as a person that lives alone, my experience is different from those that have to assist their children with online school and create a schedule so that they can stay focused and know when it is time for school and when it is time for play. I feel like those children right now. Good thing I have good leadership that keeps me accountable!

Thinking of the Good Times
This isolation time is a good example of how I took things for granted. I love routines and being able to go where I want, when I want. Now, I can’t leave my apartment unless it is to go to the grocery store or for other absolutely necessary items. I took those things for granted, and now I long for that time where I could meet with my friends to eat out and have a couple of drinks. I know some people thrive working from home, but for those of us that are not used to it, it is difficult to adjust.

Technology gives us the opportunity to be able to work from home, and I am one of those people that is super thankful that my job allows me to do so. Not many people have that opportunity, and we should all think about others and ways we can help. Our veterans know that they can reach IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to get help by calling 1-855-91RAPID or filling out an online form.

Better days are coming
One thing we can all learn is to love and care for one another and our planet. Isolation is making me realize how much humans love interacting with other people and the relationships we build. Regardless of our differences, we know that, together we can be happier, and together we can change the world.

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