Week 2 | Working During a Pandemic

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If you are working from home during a pandemic, you will say at least I’m at home more times than you ever realize. You might work more hours because I’m saving all that travel time. You will feel the exhaustion of staring at a computer screen for continuous hours but say it’s okay I’m done for the day. You forget that during a pandemic, your physical and mental health matters despite the excuses you make. With pressing deadlines and far too many commitments, it is nearly impossible to avoid feeling burnt out—without the proper self-care. There is a certain stigma with taking time off or asking for extensions, however in times like that which we are in, those stigmas do not hold the same weight. I realize that I too have made too many excuses for overworking myself. Nonetheless, I have learned the importance of being communicative with those I am working with—in terms of how I am feeling—and more realistic when it comes to the amount of work I take on as well as deadlines I set. This past week, my internship supervisor was feeling sick. While I was a bit concerned about falling behind on our communication plan, I realized that I had to be conscious of the toll that work is taking on everyone—myself included. After developing a plan to give her some additional rest time, I mainly working independently during the week. While I had questions at times, I decided to save them for our next meeting. Being conscious of her need for rest has also made me more conscious of my own needs. Moving forward, I plan on being more aware of how I am physically feeling and taking the time off when needed. Zoom fatigue is real, and despite the fact that I am not running around a college campus, my physical and mental exhaustion is valid. Furthermore, this experience has taught me to bear in mind that everyone is handling the pandemic differently. Also, different places have their own ongoing issues; for example, there is a lockdown in France which means that many people are home early and most likely not working as late as before. Keeping these factors in mind leads to a better and more understanding work environment that is healthier for all team members. Overall, working during a pandemic is not the same as working when not in one, so it is important to adjust accordingly.