It has been weeks since a lot of us has started working from home (WFH). While some are loving it, some are still trying to cope with cabin fever*. While cabin fever is not an official term for a mental condition, the symptoms and emotions caused by it are real. But what is WFH really like for some of the Trybe staff?
Q (To Nicole K): As a new staff, you were not able to meet your team physically. How was that like?
Nicole K: It has been interesting navigating different working styles prior to meeting my teammates in person. Fortunately telecommuting has helped a lot. But I am looking forward to meeting everyone in person.
How has your team help you ease into the role and company since you joined?
Nicole K: The team has made me feel comfortable and welcome through casual chats and games over lunch. They have been providing me with supervision and guidance in every step of the way.
Q: Helga, you are relatively new as well, what were your initial thoughts when you found out you have to work from home (WFH)?
Helga: I was worried about the new setting and all! But mostly thinking about my clients, especially now that I don’t see them face-to-face.
Q: What are the advantages of WFH?
Ai Weig: It cuts down my transport time and cost to zero and I appreciate the convenience. Everything I need is within reach!
Helga: I enjoy being able to spend more time and have more shared meals with my family.
Q: What are the challenges you face working from home and how did you overcome them?
Ai Weig: Face-to-face meetings are definitely more dynamic than virtual ones. I also have to ensure appropriate breaks to avoid sitting down the whole time.
I try to effectively manage my time by having at least 15 to 30-minute breaks in between online meetings. I also try to do yoga stretches during lunch or tea breaks.
Nicole K: When overwhelmed with numerous tasks, break them down into smaller steps and approach them one at a time. Keep a list of ongoing tasks to keep track of where you are at with each of them. Seek advice when unclear or unsure of what to do.
Helga: The sudden change of routine and environment was difficult to adjust to. I felt lost at first. Then there’s the challenge of not seeing my clients face-to-face and building a connection with them that is preferably done in person.
But then I was able to regain momentum when I started to set a new and structured routine for my day. As for my clients, I have learned to accept the things that I cannot control and keep my focus on giving the best support for the youths.
Carla: When left alone, I tend to skip meals and work super long hours. Working with that same intense pace for days and weeks can be taxing.
Some days are still tough, but I would say I am getting the hang of it and I am in a much better headspace compared to the first few weeks. I started to cook and do chores more, to force myself to do something else other than work. I also made sure not to miss my morning prayer and journal time.
Jovi: In general, having to work from home is advantageous as more time is saved from travelling. However, staff who are also parents may find it challenging to juggle work and taking care of the children.
Q: Jovi, you have 2 little kids. How do you manage working while at the same time, having to deal with them?
Jovi: The sudden change to routine can be confusing for the young ones. So it’s important to be patient enough to explain the new situation and boundaries to them. I am also blessed to have a supportive husband who helps me manage the kids. I also have a helper who distracts my children by making ordinary chores like cleaning and baking, a fun activity for them.
Q: What is your advice to those who are struggling to cope with WFH arrangements?
Nicole K: To new staff like me, it is an altogether unfamiliar situation, both in terms of a new job and a new situation to everyone, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you hit some road bumps, and make some mistakes. Pace yourself, take breaks, and check in on your own wellbeing periodically, if time permits. One step at a time, you’ve got this!
Carla: Hearing from colleagues from time to time is also encouraging. It’s good to know that people genuinely care and that we are going through this unfamiliar and unpredictable period together.
Jovi: Set some routines, which helps to ensure that you are on track at work. Setting up a designated work space also helps to keep oneself focused.
Ai Weig: A good and effective routine is important. Start crafting out what that looks like to you. Mine is CSI.
- Connect with friends
Text them, say hi and arrange for an online date. I recommend the ‘house party’ app for virtual parties.
- Stabilize your rest time
I got addicted to Netflix for a while and got myself out of it. Sleep and don’t stay up too late too often!
- Invest in your health
Try including more wholesome food in your diet, maybe 1 cheat day and a 15min/30min workout daily. There are lots of online free yoga/ others as well!
*Cabin fever: An irritable or restless feeling experienced when isolated in a confined location for an extended period of time