I do not like working from home.
While I consider myself an introvert who enjoys small groups and conversations, I thrive when I’m going to work every day. I love talking to my colleagues, casually stopping by my bosses’ office, throwing ideas around with producers and just the all-around camaraderie.
Some people excel in a work-from-home environment, but not me. I’ve always known this about myself. There’s a reason I work in the fast-paced, always-changing news industry — you always have to be on your toes.
The last three months have been a completely different reality for me. I’ve been anchoring from my bedroom in Brooklyn. We live in an apartment with my two kids and three labs- it is cramped to say the least. There is always the threat of a child barging in or a dog barking indiscriminately (which has happened.)
It’s been hard. But I realized a few weeks into the COVID-19 crisis that I had to rise to the occasion and accept this as our “new normal” for now. We are the lucky ones.
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I assume many of you have some of the same anxieties I have. Will my job be OK? Will I remain relevant? How do I stay in touch with my bosses? How do I move up and ahead while I’m at home? These are questions I ask myself every day. Some of these concerns we have no control over, while others we do.
Millions of people have lost their jobs over the last three months as a result of coronavirus, and more are likely in the pipeline. And if you’re lucky enough to still have a job, you most likely feel grateful, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t worried about the future. So what can you do to stem the insecurity and stay relevant — all while isolated and working from home?
The answer in my humble opinion is to stay connected and reinvent yourself, then reinvent yourself again. And while you’re at it, revisit skills you may have put on the backburner. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really not, and it will psychologically help you feel you are still moving forward.
So, what do I mean? I will use myself as an example. I anchor an early morning show on MSNBC. I used to be a reporter who traveled the world. I miss it, but it’s impossible to have that lifestyle with two young kids. But, now in quarantine, I have more freedom to pitch and tell stories again. There are so many people suffering and so many stories to tell — many happening right outside our homes. I’ve decided to take the opportunity of this unprecedented time to dig in and really tell those stories.
On top of that, I stay in touch. I could easily shut the camera off everyday and talk to nobody. Instead, I stay in touch with my producers throughout the day. I check in and share information. I call my bosses to get a sense of the future, see how they’re doing and try to stay in the orbit of the work and office life without actually being there.
Also, I do things like this, writing about my life in quarantine and the difficulties I face, to help others who are going through a similar experience. It helps psychologically now and hopefully for my future. While it's impossible to predict what will happen post COVID-19, we can take control of what we can and try to thrive where we are now.