"It’s okay to be a little miserable. If you are never miserable, how will you know when things are good again?"
Taking a breather from coronavirus updates, Aurora presents a light-hearted series on tips and tricks on how to deal with various situations related to the ongoing epidemic.
If working from home (WFH) was a person, it would be the blind date your friends set you up with, promising a great time but ending up with you sulking on your phone as you text other people. If WFH was a yoga pose, it would be Downward Dog; the instructor promises this is going to be so, so, good for you but you can’t even get yourself halfway off the floor. If it was a colour, it would be smoky; if it was a mirror it would be foggy.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: #WFH sounds great on paper, but in practice it kind of sucks. Thing is, even if you are super organised and wake up at 7:00 a.m. and get dressed and sit down at your home office for a productive day, you never really get to leave the office. Furthermore, your workday is peppered with side activities like making grocery runs, washing dishes, wiping baby’s bottom and having to start your neighbour’s car so that the battery does not run down because no one is driving it. And at the end of the day to unwind you are basically walking exactly 13 steps down the corridor.
As someone who has been #WFH since 2014 (you may applaud), I have gained some insight into how to make it work – and with every stage of child really thrown in, if that matters to you.
There Are No Rules
You have to be flexible. Some days you will be on top of your game and knocking out every single piece of work that comes your way with aplomb. On other days, your boss will be asking you if you are a monkey in a human suit, while your family accuses you of not giving them enough time, and you realise you haven’t moisturised in eight days. It’s okay. Don’t feel too bad about these days. Just roll with it.
Allow Yourself To Feel Bad
If your work is rejected by a client, or a pitch is lost, or a campaign you worked on for three weeks is put on hold because of COVID-19, it’s okay to be a little miserable. If you are never miserable, how will you know when things are good again?
With your team, your manager, your family, your clients and with yourself. If work becomes overwhelming, call your boss. If you feel things are not running smoothly, and work is unevenly divided, shoot off an email to the team. If your mom thinks working from home means you can spend time Facetiming with her sister, tell her you are at work. If you don’t tell people how you feel, how will they know?
Take Frequent Breaks
This is my favourite, because it sounds lovely, but rarely happens. But seriously, take 10 in the middle of the day. Take an hour for lunch, but organise it so that someone is covering for you. At East River, we insist on following rules three and four to avoid burnout.
Whether you chose to #WFH at some point in your career or are forced to because of the recent lockdown, remember it is not going to be easy or even fair all the time, but it is going to be okay.
Amina Baig is Head of Content, East River.