Having grown up in remote western North Dakota, I feel like, except for the hours I was in school, I spent the first 18 years of my life social distancing. But at d.trio, like most companies, our team runs the board on how we’re reacting to and coping with the challenges our nation is facing. In addition to ongoing team meetings via conference call, d.trio is also scheduling weekly virtual happy hours. Shocking, I know.
On a personal level, here’s some insight on how we’re striving to stay healthy – both physically and mentally – and making the best of working remotely.
First, let’s turn to the experts. Mark, Melinda and Wil have been working remotely for years and have many pearls of wisdom to share from their experience. Melinda recommends social distancing from social media. It’s easy to be distracted by alerts to new messages popping up on your screen. Turn it off and tune in to work. Mark is a big proponent of establishing a healthy routine – making sure to keep exercising, eating healthy and maintaining regular work hours. He even sets a timer to notify him he’s been parked as his desk too long and needs to take a break. As for Wil, he strongly recommends designating one space in your home for work and work alone. For those of us who routinely go to work in an office, our home is our sanctuary. When your home is also your workplace, you need to clearly separate them to find that same relief and release at the end of the day. So don’t roam around your house with that laptop. Stay in place until Mark’s alarm tells you to get up and go for a walk.
In addition to re-establishing a work routine of showering (Side Note: we should ALL continue showering), and dressing in street clothes (makeup optional), these ladies are working hard to ensure they’re keeping active every day. Danette is one of few people who can actually say they miss their morning commute. As an avid cyclist, she enjoyed the pedal-to-work time come rain or come shine. Although she’s having a harder time leaving the coziness of her home to face our brutal March wind, she’s committed to getting out the door every day at 5:00 and getting on the bike. Keep going, Danette – spring is coming! And Megan is running the stairs in her house every day – perhaps multiple times a day – to keep active and energized. Which leads us to wonder how Quentin’s coping with this new reality.
The Practical People
Fred and his wife Nancy are enjoying quality time with the dogs. According to Fred, “the dogs are feeling less stressed and more productive as well”. Nancy is also jumping on the “knitting eases stress” trend and is taking advantage of this time to whip up beautiful treasures to someday show off in public. Sheryl encourages taking more short breaks to balance out a technology-heavy day. Without in-person meetings and conversations, Sheryl is finding the amount of computer screen time has increased dramatically resulting in a more sedentary lifestyle which is also hard on her eyes. Try taking a tip from Fred – look away from the screen, Sheryl. Dude and Charlie (her dogs) are a nice diversion.
For our designers who are used to working in a collaborative atmosphere, the remoteness of working from home adds a level of complexity. Beth’s advice is to stay connected. Employ all methods of communication – Slack, text, email, phone, video chat – and keep reaching out. Social distancing does not mean isolation. Since we don’t have visual signs to tell how people we care about are doing, we need to ask. And if you need help, ask for it. People need people. Sam is getting to know his studio apartment really, really, really well. His coping mechanism is to get OUT of his apartment at least on a daily basis, while observing social distancing. Sun and fresh air can do wonders for your mental health. Sam is also inspired by the first signs of spring and seeing neighbors getting out and getting on with life.
Having two young children at home, Tim’s priority is maintaining a “life as usual” perspective for his boys. Tim and his wife Terri are making sure to facetime frequently with both sets of grandparents to make up for not seeing them in person. It’s a great way for the whole family to continue interacting safely. And Mary is looking out for her recently widowed mother who is isolated from friends and family in AZ and resistant to all forms of technology including a smart phone or computer. Mary’s on a mission to use the good old-fashioned mail system to send letters, cards, newspaper articles, jokes from the internet or photos of the grandkids to brighten up her mother’s day. Good advice for anybody who has an elderly loved one who may be feeling alone.
The Sunny Side
So that just leaves me. I’m trying to balance being aware of what’s happening in the world without getting weighed down by all the negativity. I limit my daily news intake and the amount of time I spend on the internet to avoid becoming overwhelmed and depressed. To counter all the bad news, I’ve implemented the “Three Good Things” happiness practice. Simply put – at the end of each day, list three good things you experienced that day. These days, you might have to look for little things. Did you find a hidden roll of toilet paper in your back closet? Did your kids play together nicely? Did you enjoy your peanut butter sandwich at lunch? Whatever it is, verbalize it. Tell your spouse, your sister or your diary. It not only eases stress, but studies show it has long-term effects for months, and even years, later.
These are our stories and we know you have your own. Feel free to share them with us. We’re happy to listen and even share them with others.