We Are Apart but Stronger Than Ever
Written by Shona Mulligan, with the help of a handful of other Runtastics
Although working from home from time to time is pretty normal for some Runtastics, the current COVID-19 situation has been a new challenge for us all. Our ‘normal’ working life (which includes lunch dates, coffee chats, in-person meetings, and of course after-work drinks) has changed rather dramatically. Each of our 250 employees is experiencing a new work situation, and we are all facing different challenges.
Thankfully, we are all safely working from home, and our collaboration has never been stronger!
Even though we are not physically together in our offices…
…we still have regular lunches, coffee chats, themed meetings, workshops, yoga classes, interviews, and even pub quizzes—all virtually, of course! Our team spirit is palpable. Our slack channels are bursting with messages from colleagues sharing home office tips, memes to make us smile, inspiring articles, and selfies of their outfit choice for the day—we truly are getting through this together.
In our last blog, we shared insights about practical tips for working from home, so we checked in with our team to hear about their personal experiences dealing with working remotely while also balancing life’s other challenges. Here are a few tips from our employees:
“Make Time to Take Care of Yourself” – Shona Mulligan, Talent Scout
I count myself lucky that my working life hasn’t changed too much. I am currently working from my apartment with new, fluffy assistants—my two cats! In the beginning, it was challenging for me to find the right work schedule. I tried and tested many tips until I figured out what worked for me. I have found that having a dedicated workspace, going out for a walk during lunch, hosting daily coffee chats with my team and having an end-of-the-day ritual like cleaning up my workspace, helps to bring a sense of routine and normalcy to my day.
Since my family and a lot of my friends are in Ireland, I can’t help but worry about them. I wonder how they are doing, if they are safe, and if I should be with them right now? Focusing on work, along with not being physically present in case a family member is affected by COVID-19, can be challenging. We’re all only human, after all.
I sometimes feel helpless now that the 2000km separating us seems more significant than ever.
For me, reaching out to our occupational psychologist helped to reduce the anxiety I’ve been feeling during these uncertain times. I’m also careful to make time each day to take care of myself. I do yoga daily as well as go for walks, make phone calls to my family and friends, and try new recipes. I’m also rediscovering old hobbies I didn’t have time for previously.
“There is So Much Value in Compassion, Community and Caring for One Another” – Katie Aichhorn, Content Product Owner
For me, the transition to home office was fairly smooth. Still, something I’m having to “force” myself to do is to not jump straight into work in the morning.
Since I know I’m not going to leave the house, why not open Slack right away or start checking emails first thing in the morning?
I also feel like having a dedicated work space and a work routine helps me to separate work life from home life. One surprising outcome of my new routine is that my husband and I are now spending more time together. I think it’s brought us closer together, and we have a higher level of understanding for each other’s circumstances.
Although I have my husband at home, my biggest challenge is working in isolation. Face-to-face interaction and the social aspect of an office fuel my creativity, but I am starting to get the same level of creative energy from virtual interactions! I definitely have good days and bad days, but I try to factor an extra dose of patience into my interactions with other people. I try to remember that not everyone is feeling okay and nobody is handling this situation in the same way. Some people are panicking, some people feel isolated, and some people feel like this is just a short-term inconvenience that we just have to ride out. I think it’s important that we recognize that all of these reactions and feelings are normal and okay. We all have our own ways of coping and adapting to these day-to-day challenges that we didn’t really have an opportunity to prepare for.
What I’m hoping is that when all this is said and done, we learn a lot about ourselves and the value of compassion, community and caring for one another and that we don’t let those positive traits fade away when everything goes back to “normal.”
“It helps to focus on Long Term Topics” – Valentyn Kuznietsov, System Architect.
My transition to home office was pretty seamless. I had worked remotely with my previous company and am a competitive gamer, so I already had the perfect office set up at home. I have a good home office routine in place, and strictly separate my personal life and my work life. I don’t leave my laptop on the dining table, and I’m careful to limit my screen time to take care of my back, eyes, and wrists. As an international living in Austria, I do sometimes feel detached from my family and friends in Ukraine.
We’re together, but at the same time each of us is on their own.
Given the current strict travel restrictions, I’d be powerless to help my family if they need me. However, I’m staying positive by focusing on long-term goals. I’ve been imagining hiking in the Alps in the near future!
Regardless of the specific circumstances, we’re all physically separated, we’re all facing our own individual challenges on a daily basis, and we’re all doing our best to adapt to this temporary way of living and working. But the key is, we are all facing this together.
Togetherness has never been more important or relevant. These uncertain times show us that we are, without a doubt, stronger together!