I always thought working remotely would be great for me. Before graduation, I was searching for different work-from-home opportunities that would allow me to have the flexibility to work in sweatpants or go to a coffee shop.
I was excited when my job started discussing the ability to work-from-home a day a week. It turned into we’re working from home starting immediately due to COVID-19. I was excited at the prospects of flexibility and safety but knew it was about to be a big change.
Personally, it’s been a hard adjustment because both my boyfriend, who I live with, and our roommate have lost their jobs due to everything happening. Feeling trapped because I can’t get out of the house to work at a coffee shop just for a change of scenery.
On top of that the world is closed, so having a solid work-life balance is very difficult. My mental health very much relies on routine, diversification of scenery, and the perfect ratio of introvert to extrovert. Social distancing is not making that happen.
Marketing in Manufacturing
I am very grateful to work for such an optimistic company. The day in March when Governor Whitmer announced the initial stay at home order, I had already been working from home for over a week already since I wasn’t feeling sell (and that’s on getting strep throat constantly!!). I waltzed in knowing that it might be a LONG time until we return to the office so I grabbed my plants, a monitor, keyboard, and some files to make everything a little easier.
While I work in marketing, I’m also responsible for internal communications. Which is a fancy way to say communicate things happening within the company to everyone from the board to our line workers. I honestly love this part of my job even though sometimes it sucks.
This means that while I’m working on marketing material for product releases (the handful that are now being pushed through and have short timelines until they release), keeping our social media channels for all three brands I work with up and running, maintaining the relationships with our UK teams, working on rebranding one company and makes a new brand’s identity, and everything else that falls into my little one woman marketing team, I have to ensure all of our employees are able to get in our team social media platform for updates and manage all the awkward comments on there about layoffs, pay cuts, and everything else.
I was afraid that since work in marketing, and there’s only one of me, and they didn’t have marketing before me, that I would be an easy person to let go when things started looking rough financially.
This has NOT been the case at all.
My workload has honestly increased. I have a lot of responsibility for this being my first real job out of college. I am nothing short of grateful for everything that I am working on regardless of how difficult it has been at times.
Transitioning to Remote Work
We began discussing the option to work remote one day a week months before COVID-19 made things get real interesting real quick. Our president and vice presidents of their areas, spent hours and meeting after meeting discussing how different roles could work remote. They stumbled to the conclusion that roles like mine were WAY more able to work from home than those in supply chain, testing, and engineering. AKA I would have way more options on when and how I could work compared to pretty much most others that I worked with.
Quickly as states began shutting down, it quickly became a how do we successfully make it so everyone continues working from home.
I’m honestly shocked at how within two days our small team, with one single IT manager, was able to get all systems working remotely, our phone system linked to our cell phones, and more to make sure that when it happened, it would be completely fine.
While I’ve been in way more meetings and honestly feeling the burn out of Zoom meetings, I love the ability to slowly get my morning started, take a walk when I need to, and just zone out of everything and get so much work done. The last 3 weeks, I have been the most productive I have been in my entire life… and that counts working three jobs and going to school full-time.
I will admit, I struggles very hard at the beginning. As someone who’s mental health relies on routine, everything was shaken and thrown upside down.
This made the first few weeks in March very difficult. I struggles to find how to manage being the only person in my apartment with a job, Not having an office and working at the kitchen table. The release of Animal Crossings New Horizons and that being the only thing making me not absolutely spiraling down the hole of depression that was looming.
Until about the end of April, a solid MONTH and almost a half, I struggled to make it work. I was barely getting what I needed to done. It was as fine and passable as I could make it. And I hate admitting that. I was suffering the reality that no one at my company wanted to talk about and it was HARD.
Until one day, I finally found my routine. I figured out how to make this the most productive time I could. This is not what I was expecting. I figured it would be a slow come back. But for some reason I just hit the ground running.
Some days are still tough. But I think everyone has started to understand that being at home doesn’t mean more work, longer hours, and absolute productivity all the time. Heck, our office played catch almost every day so I don’t know why we all thought it would be much different.
I’m excited to see how office culture comes out of COVID with a new mentality. Being told that not every role could be remote seemingly changed overnight and I think it’s going to disrupt corporate culture for years to come.