by Kira Hawes
In response to the pandemic, The Agency team has been working from home since mid-March. This change has presented a whole new set of challenges and successes; navigating this new normal has given the team many lessons in learning as we go.
As with most things, there are good and bad aspects of working from home.
Challenges that our team members experienced include struggling with a lack of routine, snacking too often, missing the social atmosphere of the office, feelings of isolation, being distracted by family members who are also working from home and family members who are not working. The less definitive start and end of the work day created a challenge in managing work-life balance, forcing us to create stronger boundaries which is difficult to do. Our screen time has increased exponentially and the lack of face to face interaction caused ‘Zoom Fatigue,’ a phenomenon in which we get more burned out from Zoom meetings than face-to-face as it is tiring trying to understand non-verbal communication over Zoom. Shifting tone was another unexpected challenge as tone in an email is difficult to convey especially when you are used to being able to simply turn your chair around and ask.
There are many benefits to working from home that we did not expect. First being the time saved in commuting. Instead of the half an hour drive in traffic, it now takes 20 steps to get to work, giving us back some time in our days. Some team members said they are less distracted and more productive at home since the distraction of other people in the office is removed. Meetings have become much more efficient, with less social chats we get straight to the point instead. Our sleep schedules are more regular, by saving time commuting, we get extra time to sleep. We have saved money on gas, parking, and lunches by staying home, and we get to spend lots of time with loved ones.
Overall, we are extremely grateful and privileged to have the option to work from home as much of our work is done online. This does not mean it has been easy – quite the opposite actually. Many of our home lives are filled with distractions that command our attention, from children, to spouses, to fur babies. Shifting to working from home forced us to learn to create boundaries we are not used to, reminding ourselves to focus while working. We have had many challenges and successes throughout this time but we are proud of how our team has come together to support each other.