Day One: Tele-working in a time of covid-19 and my hopes for the future

Today, was my first day of tele-working due to the coronavirus. I’m good with it, though. I help care for my 87-year-old parents and I know plenty of people who have autoimmune diseases or children with cystic fibrosis. This is not a hoax nor is it being blown out of proportion by the media. Has anyone stopped to think that the NCAA, NBA, MLB, universities and such know more than the general population to prevent a full-blown panic – worse than the stupidity that’s happening now with people hoarding toilet paper, hamburger and ketchup? This is the real deal. Without us doing something this drastic, it’s estimated in simulation reports that 2.2 million people would die in the U.S. It’s being compared to the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed 675,000 in the U.S. – that’s almost double the population of my hometown.

So, I’m grateful my employer understands the severity of the situation and I know I’m lucky to be able to work from home. Plus, I have a really adorable executive assistant.

Beatrice showed up for work early so we could go over the rules: no barking during phone calls; no tossing or squeaking toys during virtual conferences; no napping on the job; treats will only be eaten during breaks; and absolutely no farting. She was given a few verbal warnings today after she was caught sleeping and farting…loudly.

I spent the night before setting up my office space. My desk is in my Zen Room, the place I write, the place I read, the place I meditate. Now, I work.

As we filed out of our office on Tuesday night with our computer bags and boxes, an unsuspecting passerby would’ve thought we’d all been fired. I brought home all my daily work accoutrements, cleaned my desk, rearranged everything and even set up my mermaid lights my husband gifted me at Christmas. I set my clock for an hour later than normal since I wouldn’t have to don dress pants and a business-casual top, heels, and head to work at 7:30 am but, my inner alarm clock woke me up at 5:00 anyway.

The pros of tele-working I learned right away: much better coffee; had a second breakfast at 9:00, courtesy of Middle Earth daily meal planner; was able to have a conversation with my mom without having to find a “private” area (we work in an entirely open workspace) and my favorite – lunch took about 20 minutes so I was able to take a 25 minute siesta. Sweetness.

The cons: at 10:45 I realized I’d not brushed my teeth (yikes! I come from an oral health background); at 2:30 realized wearing my cozies and Mukluks was not helpful to ward off the afternoon wall I usually hit; and lastly, that 4:00-5:00 hour took about four hours. I swear.

Other than that, it was a truly productive workday made better by a window with a view, my loyal assistant, and the comforts of home.

Now, what do I hope we gain from all of this? Right now, I think we need to do some social media distancing, as well. But, to paraphrase an ESPN broadcaster (I don’t recall who it was as I’d been listening for hours on the day the sports world came to a screeching halt), I hope we learn some gratitude. I hope we learn that we’ve taken the things we love for granted and learn to appreciate what we have. It’s not just the sports world where things have gotten ugly – where people feel it’s their job to remark on every little thing, including bashing on players or coaches or teachers or artists or their next-door neighbors. I hope we discover that life is not so bad, that we have it really good. Maybe this time we spend together confined in our homes will remind us of how life was before social media, how we used to sit at the dinner table and talk or sit together on our couches and read in silence with music in the background. And maybe, just maybe we’ll relearn to be appreciative – truly appreciative of what we’ve too long taken for granted. All the little things. We’ll see. Now, time for bed to prepare for day two. Stay tuned.

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