Working from home during the Pandemic

Routine and gratitude are keys to the New Normal

Before the pandemic, my workday started at 5:45 a.m. with coffee, cat feeding, shower, clothes and a mad dash to the garage. After commuting 75 minutes, I spent my day processing claims and credentialing, laughing with co-workers and smiling at our beloved clients and their teachers. Another 75-minute drive home, dinner and housework, and then I fell into bed, exhausted.

The last time I did that was March 23. Then COVID-19 came to Kansas and I went home.

First of all, I am so blessed to be able to work from home. But really, I sit in front of a computer all day at work, so nothing has changed. My day starts at 8 a.m. now. I share coffee and conversation with the Hubster, then shower and put on comfy clothes. Work usually starts around 9 a.m. and lasts until at least 6 p.m. When I’m not working, we like to watch old movies, cook together, attend drive-in church and take rides in the countryside. Frequent telephone and video chats with our daughters have been so special. 

Non-negotiable daily necessities to work from home are:
1. Snacks 
2. Sunshine 
3. Laughs 
4. Connections

The easiest part of my new normal is the work. I am able to do everything I did from the office with very few hiccups. Rainbows’ IT team (Tina and Taylor) have been helpful, as well as my beloved Finance Team, whom I email multiple times daily. The Hubster, a retired IT consultant, is always close by to lend a hand, too. What you may not know about me is that I managed a successful home-based business for 18 years before coming to Rainbows. 

In March, I was in pure survival mode. We got the home office set up and I started work. The hardest part was feeding ourselves and acquiring paper products. Ahem.

Developing a new routine in April kept me busy and I settled in. Some workdays raced by, while others plodded along. I found myself putting in longer hours and taking fewer breaks. By the end of the month, I was feeling pretty burned out.

May brought fresh resolutions. I am working on keeping my perspective realistic, my expectations achievable and my stress manageable. That last one is a bit of a pest, I’m afraid. My plate is full of work, household chores, helping my elderly mom and lack of motivation for much else. 

In the future, I hope for lots of party planning (when it’s safe), meals with family and friends and travel to visit our sweet kids, who live in North Carolina and Texas. Hope is vital for successful self-isolation.

I compare working from home to the opening lines of a favorite novel, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens) Health and safety restrictions will ease and one day soon, I will return to that whimsical building on North Oliver Street, grateful for two things: Time to reconnect at home and returning to a great job at Rainbows United.

By Carol Martin, Rainbows United, Inc. Finance Department