Quarantine work is not Remote work
It's hard. Now, to be clear, if you're working at all in these times, you're very fortunate. I am very fortunate to have a job that lets me work from home. Many of my coworkers, friends, and colleagues have been thrown into remote work - some in a frantic "get your laptop and you're now working from home" moment.
I have written a lot about Remote Work and done a number of podcasts on the topic. I've been working from my home now, full time, for 13 years. It's fair to say that I am an experienced Remote Worker if not an expert.
If you're new to Remote Work and you're feeling some kind of way, I want to say this as an expert in remote working - This thing we are doing now isn't remote work.
Quarantine work !== Remote work
Know that and absorb that and know that you're OK and this thing you're feeling - wow, Remote Works SUCKS! - is normal. You're not alone.
Just look at the replies to this tweet:
Quarantine work !== Remote work.— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) April 20, 2020
I’ve been working remotely with success for 13 years, and I’ve never been close to burn out.
I’ve been working quarantined for over a month and I’m feeling a tinge if burn out for the first time in my life. Take care of yourself folks. Really.
People are overwhelmed, afraid, and stressed. There's a background pressure - a psychic weight or stress - that is different in these times. This isn't a problem you can fix with a new webcam or a podcasting mic.
Working from home feels freeing and empowering. Working while quarantined is a luxurious prison.
I've got two kids at home suddenly, one who's had their last year before high school cut short and now we struggle as a couple to work our jobs AND educate the kids in an attempt to create some sense of normalcy and continuity. I applaud the single parents and folks trying to work outside the home AND take care of little ones in these times.
We also feel the guilt of working from home at all. We appreciate the front line workers (my wife is a nurse, my brother a firefighter) who don't have this luxury. The garbagemen and women, the grocery store stockers, truck drivers, food processors, and farmers. We do our best to be thankful for their work while still getting our own jobs done.
What's the point of this post? To remind you, the new remote worker, that this isn't normal. This isn't really representative of remote work. Hang in there, things will hopefully go back to some kind of normal and if we're lucky, perhaps you and I will be able to try out remote working and feel ok about it.
Here's some more resources. Be safe.
- Love in a time of Corona Virus - Tips, Tricks and Best Practices for Working Remotely
- Good, Better, Best creating the ultimate remote worker webcam setup on a budget
- Tragedies of the Remote Worker: "Looks like you're the only one on the call"
- Take Remote Worker/Educator webcam video calls to the next level with OBS, NDI Tools, and Elgato Stream Deck
- A Guide to Remote Work with Courtney Nash
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