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15 Signs You’re Working From Home During a Pandemic

We’re eight months into a global pandemic with few signs that life is going to return to normal anytime soon. Anyone else spinning? 

Not many people are thriving in this work-from-home reality…contrary to their insta-story. Here’s an honest account of what #WFH really looks like on a typical day.

1. You’re pretty sure you don’t have ADD, but you can’t focus to save your life. 

How was it so much easier to focus in the office? I used to sit down to accomplish a task and actually get it done in one sitting. 

Now, I’m trying any and every distraction-blocking tactic to help me finish the… wait, what was I working on?

2. You just found out your child (who’s supposed to be in virtual school) has been on YouTube for the last three hours. 

While you’ve been stuck in a corner trying to get some work done, you assumed your child was doing the same. You woke them up, fed them, and made sure they were logged in. What more could they want?! 

Apparently, they wanted to watch YouTube. 

Related: How to Survive Working From Home While Homeschooling Your Kids

3. You’re still in your pajamas at 4pm…for the third day in the row. 

It’s easy to lose track of time and disregard the boundaries we used to have surrounding getting ready for work. Yet here we are in our sweats for an entire day…again. 

Don’t even get me started on showering.

4. Your Zoom filter has replaced wearing makeup. 

So many women would have never considered going to work without makeup. Now, they just use “video enhancements” rather than contouring! (If this is news to you, here’s how!)

5. You just realized you spent 1/3 of the day consuming news that makes you feel worse than you did before. 

No one wants to admit they wasted three hours on their phone reading the news… but we’ve all done it. If this makes you feel guilty or frustrated, try setting a time frame rather than doing it interspersed throughout the day. Then, during your designated block of phone time, sink into your social media guilt-free.

If you intertwine it all day, it’s easy to get sucked into the reality of the world. But with boundaries, you can catch up on all the news without letting it ruin your day.

For a long time, I wouldn’t have wanted someone to know I was working from home or my child was screaming in the background. Now, I’m inviting people into the chaos of my life.

6. You and your partner work three feet apart, but haven’t had a real conversation in four days. (“What’s for dinner?” doesn’t count!) 

Sure, you’ve talked logistics, but it’s easy to forget to have meaningful conversations. When we’re forced to constantly be in such close proximity, we might find ourselves carving out emotional space instead.

7. Even having a glass of wine isn’t that appealing. 

Sure, some people may disagree. But for me, when the work day never seems to end, capping it off with a nice glass of wine doesn’t carry the same gusto as it did for a traditional day well-done at the office. 

8. Family hike? Meh, maybe another day…

At the beginning of the pandemic, I took the kids on family hikes and practiced yoga before work. 

Motivation is officially gone. These suggestions now end with, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” Seriously, no one wants a family hike right now. 

9. You moved the Peloton (or treadmill, or rowing machine…) next to your desk. 

If I could work out in closer proximity to my work space, I would do it regularly, right? Nope. I haven’t even touched the bike since I hauled it to my office a few weeks ago.

10. You’re renovating the garage to create additional living space for your 11-year-old to go play Xbox so you don’t have to hear it. 

Okay, maybe this one’s just me. But I literally cannot witness the gaming any longer. It must happen somewhere else.

11. You’ve let your guard down a little — personally and professionally. 

When people see you in your home office, which is also your bedroom, it’s hard to keep your guard up. Now that we’re inviting people into our homes via video chat, we’re being a little more authentic. On the positive side, this authenticity has really strengthened my relationships with clients and candidates. We’re being more real with who we are outside of our professional persona. 

Related: Responding to COVID-19 Challenges: 7 Key Insights from Bay Area Controllers

The guardrails with my kids are coming down, too. In so many ways, I’m happy to be around my kids every day, but I also miss adult interaction. Not having a separate adult life has been a big transition. Ten months ago, we had strict rules about screen time or yelling… and now the rules have changed. My patience is tested more and I’m constantly apologizing…. or should be.

“It’s so easy to check your email at all hours of the day because your computer is sitting right there and let’s be honest, we don’t have a lot else to do! But, newsflash, we are all busier than ever.”

12. You’ve stopped feeling guilty when family and work overlap. 

Career-minded women have worked so hard to be professional, they set firm boundaries on not exposing their maternal side. For a long time, I wouldn’t have wanted someone to know I was working from home or my child was screaming in the background. Now, I’m inviting people into the chaos of my life. 

It’s been amazing. 

Now that we don’t have to feel guilty when family and work overlap, we can have more genuine connections.

13. Your kids now pick locks. 

As if boundaries weren’t blurred enough, my kids have learned to pick locks so I can’t keep them out of the room for meetings. So much for separation of work and family. 

14. It’s no longer a badge of honor to say how busy you are. 

Spending three hours reading the news counts as busy, right?

I’m the first one to say how busy I am, even during a pandemic. Now more than ever, we are all living at work and the boundaries of balance no longer exist. 

It’s so easy to check your email at all hours of the day because your computer is sitting right there and let’s be honest, we don’t have a lot else to do! But, newsflash, we are all busier than ever. I have yet to talk to a person out there who isn’t running themselves ragged.

15. You realized you’re an extrovert. 

Zoom doesn’t replace office interactions, even when we’re on video calls. I can pack more video meetings in a day to see more people, but it doesn’t replace in-person interaction.

We’re used to pulling energy from others around us — especially those of us who are extraverts. While some are going back to office, others of us aren’t willing to make the commute so we can possibly see a few masked faces. Even so, we miss people more than ever. 

I’m ready to get out! I would love to hear all about YOUR Covid realities!

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