Trying to Be Productive in a Altered World

What a difference a month makes.

I wanted to write something not related to the current pandemic. But there's a big elephant in the room. I need to write about how its affected us as a company and as people.

It's tough to comprehend how different our world is now. Social distancing, lockdowns, face masks, and empty offices. We weren't expecting a 2020 like this.

And while we all try to deal with our new realities there's something I don't understand. How do we all carry on working with a deadly virus living right outside our doors?

A month ago I was sitting in Amsterdam working in a public space. I was a little concerned about the virus starting to spread. But a simple disinfecting of the table helped keep my mind at ease.

The European attitude also helped keep me from freaking out.

Unfortunately it didn't take long for people to go from "I wouldn't worry about it" to "we've no idea what the hell's going to happen".

Keeping a Positive Mindset

We've always been a remote company. Working from home should've been effortless for us, right? I wish. We've all struggled.

With everything that's going on outside our windows it's tough to focus. The reality of it is people are dying. We're scared to go outside of our homes. Even going to buy groceries is a risky journey.

Does making a better knowledge base matter right now? Frankly on the surface no—it doesn't.

Compared to doctors and nurses saving lives, cleaners disinfecting surfaces, and people across logistics making sure everything is in stock we're making a tiny difference.

But the more I thought about it the more I changed my mind about our work being pointless. And I'm sure the more you think about your work the more you'll see how a little difference adds up.

On face-value we're writing a little bit of code. Making small improvements to an online platform  and answering support tickets. But what if we think about it in a different context? In a more positive light.

We're helping get viral information about healthcare out to customers. We're reducing the amount of load companies have on their support so they can keep their business running. We're making a small difference here and there.

But pretending it's easy isn't the right thing to do. I've seen several companies boast about the greatness of remote work and welcoming the work from home newbies. Not acknowledging the shitty position everyone is in right now.

I've even seen a few companies trying to angle their product for the new workforce away from their offices. Seeing it as a sales opportunity.

I think acknowledging that work isn't going to come easily for anyone is the human thing to do. It's sad to see some not do that and take advantage.

Adjusting to the New Normal

Yesterday I was talking to a lovely person from an insurance company on the phone.

The phone line was unreliable. They seemed to take a while to find the information they needed to explain to me.

After a few minutes fumbling on the phone I heard some yapping. It was their dog barking in the background. It was obvious they were trying their best to adjust to the new normal—working from home.

At the end of the call they opened up and explained how they were struggling to their new normal. Working without their usual office equipment.

They didn't have the phone they had used for years. The computer with all the software ready for them. Or the separation they usually had from their home life.

We're all trying to our best with the cards we've been dealt. Being productive shouldn't be on anyone's mind as we all learn to adjust.

Stay safe 💖