Insights

WFH During COVID: Cut Yourself Some Slack


I started out writing a blog about how to stay productive and sane when working from home. Then the ‘tips for staying productive and sane while working from home’ emails started rolling in and now my inbox is filled with them. Turns out it’s the go-to topic for businesses trying to stay relevant after reading one of the nine billion ‘make sure you use this time to over-communicate with your clients’ blogs.

I started thinking. Is there anything I could add to the list of things people are already doing? Take a walk, keep a routine, develop a drinking problem. It’s overplayed.

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There’s also the fact that I am the last person on this Earth you should take advice from about staying relaxed and sane. I thrive in chaos. That’s why I’m in marketing. The thought of sitting idle on a beach, watching the waves roll in gives me anxiety. Slowing down is something I’m working on but it’s early in my “treatment.”

I’m pushing my team to use this downtime to ramp up for a huge return but I’m also trying to keep in mind the current reality. Life feels surreal right now. Life as we know it has been turned upside down. We’ve been forced to bring work into our homes, the spaces that have traditionally been reserved for rest and recovery. And we’re trying to act normal during a time that’s clearly not normal.

We’ve been forced to bring work into our homes, the spaces that have traditionally been reserved for rest and recovery.

What if I told you it might be okay to not be as productive right now? That it might be okay to break down and feel a little out of control? Because this is temporary.

As marketers, we’re always “on,” working around the clock and pushing to make the impossible happen. We expect a lot from ourselves. And we’re trying to act normal during a time that’s clearly not normal.

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The truth is, this will pass. This is not permanent and this is not the new normal. It seems difficult to fathom, but things will return to normal. You’ll go back into the office, you’ll ride the metro again, you’ll find yourself in a sketchy bar on a Saturday night again, and you’ll tell your kids (or grandkids) about the time the governor made you stay home.

Easier said than done, I know. As a business owner, employee burnout is a huge concern of mine. They’re creatives. Creatives need movement. They need variety. I love my team and I cringe at the thought of having any of them leave.

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I find myself working extra hard to keep them excited about the future. Rather than giving them the usual “we’re all in this together,” which, at this point, has completely lost all meaning, it’s important to be human. To remind them that I understand this situation sucks. To remind them that I appreciate the work they’re doing. To suggest they separate their work space from their living space. To let them know that it’s totally fine to check out a bit during the day to clean out the bookcase. And that it’s okay when a screaming kid Zoombombs a client call.

So, if you really want to stay sane, cut yourself some slack.