Self-Initiated Projects

Alone Together: Work Life

Different ways work life changed in 2020. From remote to work to digital fatigue, and how private and professional are blending.
Work Life
Work Life

Global work life significantly changed for most people in 2020. From remote to work to digital fatigue, and how private and professional are blending.

Remote Work

Work life is changing, not only because of remote work. It was incredible to see how fast things can change. Shops and supermarkets changed over night, with hand sanitizers, Plexiglas at the check out, and markers to indicate distance. And large, often slow moving, corporations setting up remote working within days.

In hindsight it’s still remarkable how fast companies could adjust their  internal digital strategies to include Zoom, G Suite and other video call solutions. And with that hiring and on-boarding, meetings and daily checkins, they all changed.

Some have found that working remote reduced meetings from one hour to fifteen minutes. Yet other companies opted to have everyone on camera in a call all day. I’m not sure the last gives the workers the privacy they need to best be capable of doing their jobs, but this is all essentially user testing.

The mass change of internal processes, may have worked as a disadvantage at first, change creates friction, as often is the case in larger groups of people when they have to adapt to new technology of ways of working. Yet the disruption does allow us to rethink some of the methods that have or maybe have not worked so well for us before.

Initially, I have to be honest, I was skeptical of these changes, but now I’m mostly curious to see what we can learn from them.

Tips for when you're working remotely

  • Dress in work attire and find a dedicated work space.
  • Schedule work blocks and take breaks.
  • Plan a schedule for activities with all in your house, and communicate available time with your work team.
  • Not every call has to be a video call.
  • It’s okay to slow down.
  • Be okay with work and life becoming more intertwined. Set your own rituals to transition from work, to private, to family, etc.
  • Set boundaries, but continue exploring. 

The Essential Workers

As many of us started working from home, those who were considered “essential workers” were hailed as heroes, but they still had to put themselves in danger every day. I heard a story on a podcast called “This American Life” about a metro worker who worked with fewer colleagues as the pandemic progressed, and eventually ended up working alone in a Plexiglas box.

There are also stories from teachers, as shared on podcasts like “The Daily” and “Death, Sex and Money”. They talk about how they are adapting to teaching online or how classrooms need to be modified to follow safety guidelines. It can be a lonely experience, but some teachers are able to find hope while others are considering leaving the profession altogether.

We must remember that these workers are human beings, and their work takes up a significant portion of their lives each week. Therefore, we need to take care of them, just as we take care of ourselves. It’s important to be cautious and show empathy towards those who continue to work during these challenging times.

Record Unemployment

During the early stages of the pandemic, many people lost their jobs, and the US, in particular, reported a significant rise in unemployment. Although some jobs have returned since August 2021, some businesses were unable to withstand the economic impact of the pandemic and did not survive.

As a result, we are all facing challenging times and may need to be more resourceful in finding alternative ways to earn a living. This can be tough on everyone. Therefore, it’s essential to treat each other with kindness and compassion, and to listen attentively to one another.


An ode to unsung heroes - TED playlist

These talks honor the selfless and overall wonderful human beings who help us every day.

EU Circular Economy Action Plan

A new Circular Economy Action Plan for a Cleaner and More Competitive Europe.

Google Hangouts Meet

Free access to our advanced Google Meet video-conferencing capabilities for some G Suite customers.

How Science Can Fix Remote Work - WorkLife with Adam Grant

Remote work was a trend that some companies and gig workers were trying out, even as others resisted.

Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity - TED

What's the secret to unlocking the creativity hidden inside your daily work, and giving every great idea a chance?

Why we need to move toward an economy that can regenerate itself - TED

The old take-make-use-lose model of industrial design has depleted resources and dumped waste into the environment.


Anything missing? I’m working on adding more. If you have any suggestions for things that have really helped you, I would really like to hear about it. Stay safe, and take care <3

Originally posted: April 17, 2020.