Working remotely has become the new norm in the world of the pandemic. We were very accustomed to being out and about, interacting with each other, and sitting in our offices feeling like a part of a team. Now we're scattered and socially distanced, and the real question is, is it helping or hurting how we now communicate with one another?
I decided to ask my Facebook friends what their pros and cons were of working remotely. Almost all of them said the pros were the convenience of staying home, remaining casually dressed, and taking a break when needed. The biggest pro was saving time and money by not having to commute. Some of the cons that were brought to my attention were less connection and socialization. We are losing connection to others and a healthy routine fast.
As a student worker for Central Washington University, I am experiencing the 'working remote' life and it is a huge struggle. I currently work as a student caller for the donor relations department where I make calls to alumni to reach out for possible donations towards the university’s programs or scholarships. Granted that there are only four of us in total who work this position, it is difficult when you are not sitting in an office or you are not able to get up and ask questions to a physical person. There are no breaks of social interaction. The only interaction we receive now is through Microsoft Teams or Zoom. I originally started working in the office and remained socially distanced, but then the University decided over winter break that it would be best to work remotely due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. My office is now my dorm room. On top of studying for classes and work, I sit at my same desk for about 8-9 hours a day staring at a screen. My interactions are with my roommate as well as zoom lectures, or Microsoft teams meetings for work. The communication barrier is so severed. Emails are nice, but they are not as clear as face-to-face meetings. Zoom calls work well to give us that face-to-face interaction, but technology can always fail and give us difficulty. How do we make it work?
The best advice I can give to anyone working remotely is to stay patient and stay sane. I try to be better about getting up and giving myself a break from the screen. Give yourself a brain break, we all need it. We may not be getting back to the physical social interaction for a while but the best thing we can work on is our communication skills. Make the effort to communicate with others, be a part of your team and work together to problem-solve. Remember in the end, we're all in this together.