Some months ago, we officially clocked one year into the ‘new world order’. If anyone told me that the world in general and corporate world in particular would swiftly and compulsorily transition into virtual space, I would’ve chuckled in disbelief. But here we are, in a novel place proudly sponsored by the Covid-19 pandemic in collaboration with its numerous variants (deep sigh).
For today’s segment, I will share what remote working has been like for me. With over a year plus into this new world order- I realised I hadn’t yet shared what my experiences and encounters have been like. This is mostly because, the time the first wave of Covid rolled out, I was consumed with the balance between work and school- preparing for my bar exams and I really had no zeal to write for pleasure. I could say, I actually had some sort of Writer’s Block. There was alot I needed to let out but- the how and when was lost on me.
The months that followed were flavoured with anxiety, break downs and other emotions that came with the required adjustments into the new world and again- I did not have any time or zeal to put pen to paper and narrate all that was going on.
Buuuuuuut, as there is no expiry date on experience, I thought this would the right time to share my perspective. It is, after all business and tech week which is all encompassing of the remote working and online learning saga I have been plunged in. As this is write up is dubbed “Tech Talk”, my encounters will lean more on the Tech Aspect.
The unexpectedness of the pandemic and the rapid yet compulsory transition into the virtual world was not easy to take in. To no longer be able to have full control of my experiences and to be constantly reminded that anything could happen to anyone at any time was disastrous to say the least.
The following where my main pain points as we transitioned into the virtual world:
- Not being able to hug
Lol. No but really, I am such a hugger and physical touch ranks highly on my love languages. The limitation was overwhelming. I remember this one time, my parents came to visit my apartment to bring fresh supplies- vegetables, fruits and all. We could not hug and embrace each other and they stayed in the car the entire time, masked up and sanitizing their hands after the drop offs. I sobbed when I got back into the apartment. I look back then and feel we were just a tad bit overly cautious, but they are elderly and the first wave pronounced the older people as the most high risk. I had to trade in my affection for their safety. A brutal trade.
2. Not being able to go on solo dates – breakfast, dinner, movie etc
Prior to the pandemic limitations, my most reliable coping mechanism included being alone in crowded places (that sounded a lot better in my head lol but seriously). I enjoyed solo breakfast or dinner dates, attending live music and poetry shows, movies from the cinema etc. In a flash, all this was taken away and I struggled. I was forced to be indoors. ALL THE TIME.
What made it worse (or rather, better as far as Covid prevention is concerned) was that, my workplace immediately transitioned into full time remote working- we have not looked back since then. My school also introduced online learning and my screen time significantly increased. Church also started streaming services and let’s just say, I had no reason to be out there.
However, having to work, learn, relax and generally exist in the same environment was very triggering. I would take walks once in a while and spot a few people without masks and go back to safety (hate that surviving Covid is a group project, if others are slacking no matter how careful you are you’ll be gone). Also, my eyesight got compromised in the process and I now wear spectacles 😦
However, I very soon realized- this pandemic was not just a “wave” that would fade away quickly. It dawned on me months into the pandemic that this could be, as most people were calling it, the new normal. At that point, I knew I only had one choice- to ADAPT, quickly. The most vital thing I needed to work on was a perspective shift. It mattered not whether the glass was half empty or half full, I had to be grateful to still have a cup at all.
I trained my mind to see the good in the new world order. I happily set up my home office work station and begun to embrace the beauty of the Virtual World.
The unsung benefits of the virtual world which I have been dwelling on are as follows:
- Since the first wave of Covid, I have been working remotely- I do not miss the traffic jams that would be the norm of most of my days pre-Covid;
2. As an ambivert, there were many times when my extrovert side was unwillingly dominant over my introvert side because, of social demands! I love that I am now able to attend parties, weddings, church services etc in the comfort of my space. This was the balance I never thought I needed!
3. I love that most companies are now intentional about providing delivery services for goods and services. I will choose convenience any day and what is more conveniencing than door step deliveries of favourite supplies? This has definitely been a plus!
4. I loooooooooove that most institutions are now being intentional about online learning programs/ discussions. I love to network and sometimes time, distance and lack of resources to move from one country or to the other would make me miss out on amazing opportunities. But now, I am able to connect with many people through my screen. Who would’ve thought I would be this pro-tech!
As controversial as this may sound, I have come to realize that there is beauty in every situation. All we must do is train our minds to focus on the positive. The new world order necessitated the transformation of my mind and birthed my perspective shift.
I still miss the world as it was before, I had hopes of travelling more last year and this year but all that has been down-sided. The grief that has come from losing loved ones and seeing loved ones lose their loved ones has also been very devastating.
Nonetheless, as far as tech is concerned, virtual reality has made some things easier.
In the days to come, I will profile some Zambian Entrepreneurs as they share their lived experiences. We will be talking, business, tech and the pandemic. Be sure to look out for that exciting segment.
Read on & Live long.