Social distancing can be tough. Working from home with roommates and partners and kids and pets, who all have their own priorities, can make you feel like Cabin Fever, rather than COVID-19, is the real disease to worry about.
I joke, but as we watch the infection rate climb each day, it can make us ask whether staying home is making an impact.
It’s helpful to remember that, while there’s a lot that we’re still learning, it appears that COVID-19 can spread for several days before someone knows that they’re sick. So those infection rates we see today are a result of actions taken, or not taken, up to two weeks ago. Staying home now is the best way to keep you, your loved ones, and your neighbors healthy in the coming weeks.
It’s also important to make sure you’re getting information from reliable sources, like WHO and CDC, rather than from social media, or even from some news outlets.
But how to keep from going stir crazy?
If there’s a silver lining in this, it may be that there are so many amazing and free learning opportunities being made available online. This can be a great time to try out that thing you’ve always wished you had more time to try out – I’m taking up knitting again and my husband is practicing guitar.
But there are also a lot of great options for training and education for your career development. When was the last time you took a moment to think about your work: what you’re doing well and what you wish you could do better; where you would like to go in your career; and what you’d like to be doing in a year, or three, or five years? Really think about it. When you can name one or two areas you’d like to explore, I encourage you to take a lunch hour or two to begin!
Coursera is a great resource for classes on a variety of subjects. But if you’re not up for a full multi-session course, many places are offering great webinars that can get you started in your professional learning, such as your local chambers of commerce and nonprofits, Fairygodboss is a favorite option of mine, and of course you can try your organization's intranet or HR department – check out the websites under “events.” You can also look up videos on things like using Excel, Google Drive, or virtually any other platform.
We can also learn from each other. My IT department just led a great virtual meeting today on making the most of Zoom for meetings! If there’s a subject you’d like to share, or something you’d like to learn, connect with your HR team and propose a virtual meeting, or ask about other resources and opportunities.
Lastly, sometimes we just need to connect with other people. Coffee or lunch meetings, or happy hours, can also be moved online. It’s not exactly the same, but it can be a good way to connect with the people you’re missing.
Hang in there, you’re doing great.