Today is May 1st. When I was living in Europe, this day was sacred. Everything was close, and it was about giving time to people to celebrate their rights at work.

I remember going with my dad to some events in Lisbon to celebrate and listen to some politicians give a speech regarding the workforce.

Here in the US, it is not a bank holiday in May, but there is a national holiday called Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

This blog post is not about history! I promise! 

But it is about the history we are making in our generation working from home, after a one-year pandemic, lockdown, and turning the impossible things possible.

I know not all jobs are like that, and I have a strong admiration for the front-line and second-line workers, the ones who need to leave the house to make this world a better place. Thank you!

Moreover, we started the Flexible Work era. The online working era.

If it was a thing before, now it is the next level of a new generation. And we are part of it.

But how did we make it? How are we doing?

 

I made some reflections, and throughout this year, I feel it is a perfect example of the 4 stages of coping with change:

1 – Shock and denial

2 – Anger and resistance

3 – Exploration 

4 – Acceptance and moving forward 

1 – Shock and denial

On March 11th, 2020, I was having a workshop with 20 people in a room at work, and we were talking about China being close and Italy announcing the tragic increase in numbers of people with COVID-19. We were wondering if it would happen in the US as well.

Some people were saying they had bought the groceries for good for a month so they can stay safe at home. Others were living like nothing would happen.

I was in that group, thinking it was impossible to close the world.

It was impossible to close the office.

It was impossible to close schools and daycare.

Well, it didn’t take so long that on Friday, March 13th (OMG! Just realized it was a Friday 13th!!!), we got several emails from work, school, and even daycare, announcing the lockdown. We had to stay at home!

We had to work from home for the next two weeks. Yes, those emails were stating two weeks, no more.

I was in SHOCK. Suddenly we were all at home, my children during a normal week were also at home, and I was in denial, thinking this would never take more than two weeks.

And here we were, working from home, where I started to work in a little desk I had in my bedroom, which was the place I created, like my golden corner to blog.

My husband didn’t have a place to work at home, so he was at the dinner table in our dining room.

This was us during those two weeks, the time we would think to come back.

We were in pure shock and denial.

2 – Anger and resistance

After 2 weeks, we got another series of emails from work, school, and daycare.

This time, they were saying to stay at home until further notice. Work was telling to work from home, the school was told to do 100% virtual, and the daycare was closed.

At the same time, my husband got the news that the project he was working on got canceled, so the team was dismissed! Boom!!!

We went from the shock of seeing the world shutting down to the immediate feeling of anger and resistance. This can’t be true.

We were still working in these temporary conditions, where I’m in my bedroom and my husband in the dining room.

We were letting our toddler watch the TV or use the iPad, thinking it would be temporary so it would be the best option to keep doing meetings and be in this work mode with children at home.

We were blaming the world. Who was responsible for this situation? The politicians, the leaders of the world, we were venting like crazy as there was no toilet paper or sanitizer!

I couldn’t have time for myself. I didn’t have clarity. The only thing I was hoping for was to get back, undo this situation, and come back to normal.

3 – Exploration

This situation was about the situation when I found the true value of positivity. When listening to the influencers I love from personal development started to make sense. I started to look at the future.

My husband started to think of his situation as a turning point for something else and began to explore alternatives to his new business as an instructor of Martial Arts. Was he turning his hobby into a business… why not?

We started to ask ourselves, “what can we do to make the best out of this situation?”, and we started to feel hope, envisioning the future, and exploring this new normal.

4 – Acceptance and moving forward

At home, we started to adapt by planning the day differently in order to get things done at work while the children are home.

I need to be honest, we started to have a routine of every day going for a walk as a family, which right now we don’t do anymore, and I miss these moments.

I miss my daughter waking up from her naps and calling me “mama” with her sweet little voice while I was working.

We all had lunch together.

We started to explore different approaches to life and adapt.

My husband started to get his new office in the guest bedroom, bought a new big screen, and we started to have a new setup at home and a new routine.

I can tell my husband turned his passion for Martial Arts into a business. He started to give Zoom classes first, then private 1:1 in our backyard.

After a year into this life, so much has changed.

Our home office evolved, and we aimed for even more.

My husband rented a studio as he grows his business. I turned the guest bedroom into my office and it no longer works at the corner desk in my bedroom. Sleeping and working in the same place for such a long time was not ideal.

Now we have a different routine, which I love so much. It includes the flexibility to work out, be with my children, blog, and have my own office. It turned out really well.

I like my new normal, and if I need to come back to the office, commuting every day, I feel that I prefer the way it is right now.

The power of flexibility is huge!

I also get more work done.

Still, I miss the opportunity to be with people in the same room, but I am so happy with the new lifestyle I discovered that I didn’t have before.

To wrap up this article, I just want to reinforce that we all go through these 4 stages during change, but the speed to pass to the next stage is a skill you can practice, and with time, you will find strategies to get unstuck quicker.

I knew about the power of positivity, but during this stage, I need to be honest, the exercise of the 3 steps of positivity helped tremendously to move forward to the Exploration level.

How are you doing?

What does your new normal at work look like? Share your answer in the comments below!

Happy International Workers’ Day!

Resources: 

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/coping-with-change.htm

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/the-four-stages-of-dealing-with-change-in-the-workplace-1.148267

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/guide-employees-through-4-stages-change-joshua-brusse/

P.S. A funny thing from my son: He is now attending school in person. He has to wear a mask. To eat a snack, they have to take out the masks and put on a face shield. As he has to eat with this face shield, he doesn’t want PBJ sandwiches anymore. The peanut butter gets messy with the face shield! LOL!!! So no PBJ in his new normal!

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