I’m sure a lot of people would agree that 2020 was a tough year. In all aspects. The pandemic, the lockdowns, exposure of government incapability. It all went downhill from there. All plans and travels cancelled, we can’t socialize anymore, we can’t leave out of the house without all these extra added protection in our faces. There were so many changes that we have to adapt.
I still remember that time back in March when Metrobank allowed its employees to work from home right after the government declared ECQ across the country. My husband rejoiced. Instead of being happy about it, I dreaded it. I never understood why it was a privilege then and how my husband enjoyed it. As a mom of young kids, I needed my time off from home to just work. I needed a break with being a mom and just become my own person. With this new setup, I felt robbed of my personal time. The boundary of home and work became rigid. I felt so stressed because by the time I’m done working, mommy duties starts in the next minute. Downtimes are gone. My productivity also went haywire. I couldn’t focus whenever I hear the twins’ cries or whenever they fought on every single thing. Meetings were hard. Burnout was real.
It took me a lot of adjustments. The first month was the hardest. And as we went along, I learned to adjust and balance things out. Miraculously, the twins did too. It changed from them always opening the door to barge in, to them knowing our work hours and only wait for us during lunch and dinner. In their young age, they learned that when mom and dad are working, they are only supposed to stay downstairs unless we allow them to. Routines helped. It was also a plus that we have an extra help at home. After four months of adjusting, I finally learned and loved the idea of working from home.
Come July, it was the time when we had an alternative work arrangement. Weekly rotational onsite work plus staggered work hours was in place to maintain social distancing in our office. I was excited on my first day back but kind of hesitant to go back to the way it was. I mean, I can finally go out of the house and have my personal time back. I can dress up again, drive the car and see my friends at work. It was refreshing! But the virus is still out there. And after that first week onsite, I can’t wait to go back to working from home again. Also, did I mention how much we saved when we don’t commute and eat out for a week? It’s a bonus!
From July to November, I realized the pros and cons of working from home and working onsite. I learned to adapt with the changes that are inevitable due to the pandemic. I think the struggle that I experienced during the earlier months of working from home was the same as what students are experiencing now with the blended learning/online classes that not everyone was accustomed to. It is our first year with these new setup and no one seen it coming. Hence, nobody was prepared for it – whether it’d be the pandemic or the changes brought by it. We are all still adjusting and we have to be aware of that.
However, even if we were not prepared or used to it, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn to embrace the changes. As the months went along with the work from home setup, I learned to make use of my extra time at home. The extra hour for commute became an extra hour to workout. The extra half hour after eating lunch became an extra time for siesta. The extra hours for commute home became an extra bonding time with twins before they sleep at night. I changed my perspective of less me time to more time with family, and looked at it in a positive aspect. Kumbaga, sanayan lang siya.
I also learned when to say no. To let people know when I can still be contacted for work and when I can only reply or work on it the next day. I learned to set a boundary within myself unless it’s really important. Instead of replying with “ok”, I learned to reply with “I’ll check first thing tomorrow” or “I already logged off but we can discuss tomorrow.” It’s important to let people know how you make use of your personal time. It would be beneficial for your mental health and also to make people aware that there are other people with other priorities than work.
I also learned that as we struggle with productivity and focus during these times, we should celebrate even the small things. I once read that progress is progress no matter how little. We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Just know that you did your best and tomorrow is another day.
So next time people ask you what’s your best accomplishment this year, don’t think too far out. You learned to adapt with the new way of working without even realizing it. Additional plus if you learned a new skill – became a planTita, focused on yourself more, learned to bake, worked out more or even that Dalgona coffee you tried doing on our first month!
Ending this post to remind you that there is still hope. It may be hard but don’t worry. Hang on. Good times ahead. ☺️