Reflections – Working from Home During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic forced us to work from home. But as long as we had positive attitudes and the will to do the work well and to solve the problems, we could always find ways to overcome the obstacles and even gain benefits during the difficult time.
Starting March 2020, everyone in my office was suddenly informed to work from home due to the wide spread of the coronavirus with little preparation and without detailed planning of the future. Nobody knew what would happen next and how long we would work from home. For a person like me who never worked from home, I was worried about how it would work out at the beginning.
After more than a year, when looking back, there were many challenges to face and obstacles to overcome, but there were many benefits gained during this period too.
The first challenge was how to finish the work in time. For the first two weeks of working from home, I dealt with many issues such as IT problems and distractions at home which made me work inefficiently. My work was much behind schedule. To change the situation, by the third week I adjusted my working hours to adapt to the new working style. If I noticed distractions or there was an IT issue, I made up the hours lost, so I could get the work done in time.
As a supervisor, I needed to ensure my team got their work done too. One of my coworkers could not finish her work due to family issues. I tried my best to help her so that she could catch up. Although she quit her job eventually, her work did not fall behind much.
Another challenge was training new employees. In 2020, my team got a new member. During the pandemic, virtual training replaced the onsite training. I had to develop a different training model and strategy to reach the training goal. For example, before the one-to-one Zoom meeting, I always sent the written instructions to the new employee so that they had an idea of the training contents, which made the training go well.
Working from home also had some benefits.
Workwise, one thing I did more than before was to attend more training webinars because of the flexibility of my working hours. These training webinars improved my working capabilities a lot.
From a personal life perspective, for the first two weeks, I gained 5 pounds by not doing my regular daytime walking as before. Starting the third week, I changed my routine and got up the same time as before to do my indoor workout for one hour before breakfast every day. I started to attend online evening dance classes as well to replace my regular dance classes in the studio before the pandemic. All the workouts kept me as physically and emotionally healthy as before.
Another big benefit of working from home was that I had more time to spend with my family and to cook, which brought a lot of happiness to my family and my cooking skills improved a lot. As an Asian parent, I had more time to help my daughter practice Chinese by talking more, her Chinese language skills improved a lot in the past year.
In summary, the coronavirus pandemic forced us to work from home for the past year. But as long as we had positive attitudes and the will to do the work well and to solve the problems, we could always find ways to overcome the obstacles and even gain benefits during this difficult time. Because working from home could also bring us more opportunities (or time) to do things such as attending work related webinars, working out, and spending time with family.
Authored by Peng Tang, Supervisor, Sponsored Projects Accountant
University of Pittsburgh