Working from home for the last 12 months has been an interesting study in resilience. My office space has become a place for huge productivity. I have learned to work with multiple devices on multiple platforms and keep a very tight schedule. Previously, I traveled locally between schools to handle my job. Now I can literally move from one school to another in 5 seconds. Efficiency has increased exponentially.
I am able to structure my workday easily now. I have alarms set to make sure I handle all of my deadlines. I rarely get off task – except when I need to in order to mentally survive the challenges I face in front of the screen.
Do I like teleworking? Yes! Mostly because I’m far more productive than before. I am spending less time driving. The relaxation of driving is something I do miss, but I am a better employee and using school district money better when my commute is 10 steps away behind a sound dampening curtain.
Virtual conferences are challenging in this environment. I’ve attended and/or presented at 4 virtual conferences this year. But, I didn’t take time off from work to do that. I continued to work and assist teachers because they are my first priority. Always. The challenge that presented was the inability to really learn well while trying to facilitate learning for others. Very stressful.
I’ve also learned that one can bake bread around a very busy work schedule. Instead of taking a lunch break, I take a baking break. (Sourdough anyone?) Doing something for others has helped me keep my sanity during this time, too.
I have worked with many more teachers and administrators this year than ever. They are willing to schedule an appointment and just jump into a Google Meet to help solve problems, answer questions and strategize the best ways to assist their staff. We have definitely learned to work smarter as well as harder.
I do love to be around real people. But, would I keep teleworking if given the option? You bet. It has been a stressful year, yet I now know that we are all able to function in an online environment if needed. Soon I’ll be back in schools – next week – so we can expect my productivity to take a huge nosedive. No extra screens. Building in time for travel that amounts to a minimum of about an hour of my workday.
Here’s to all of my fellow virtual colleagues!