I have to admit that I was afraid of the COVID-19 virus from the beginning. My wife Tammy and I both have underlying conditions which would have made it hard to recover from the virus, and so we were very careful (wearing a mask, social distancing, not eating in restaurants, watching the live stream of our church services, using Zoom for meetings, etc.). My Dad already had shortness of breath from congestive heart failure and I knew it would be very difficult for him to recover from the virus if he contracted it.
For months, the coronavirus vaccines were in very short supply in our county. Tammy and I got ours in a city about an hour away from our home. When my brother and his wife were ready to get their vaccines there were no appointments available during the entire month of May, so they scheduled an appointment for May 4 in a town about forty minutes away. Unfortunately, a few days before their appointment they contracted the virus. The day after they were to get the vaccine my sister-in-law went into the hospital with pneumonia. Two days later my brother was hospitalized. My sister-in-law recovered quickly, and was able to go home the day my brother was admitted to the ICU. My brother’s condition was much more serious, and he was put on a ventilator on May 8. The nurses were not optimistic about his chances for survival, but the Lord showed mercy to him and our family, and he is now on the long road to recovery.
During this time, the Lord has been teaching and reminding me of many things about myself. Here are a few of the main ones. Continue reading
As I write this, more than 61,000 Americans have lost their lives to the COVID-19 Coronavirus in a very short period of time, and that number is sure to rise. More than 30 million Americans are out of work, millions are working from home, schools are closed and many of us are in states that have had “stay at home” orders from our governors for the past several weeks. Billions of dollars have been spent to try to keep the economy from collapsing into a depression.
We have many questions, such as:
- How did this virus start? For example, was it in a lab in Wuhan, China?
- How does it spread?
- How deadly is it?
- What will happen when our states start to open back up?
- Will the virus come back in the fall?
In the weeks since we started hearing about the Coronavirus, I have been fascinated by watching how leaders (federal, state, local, organizational and church) have responded. What can we learn from how our leaders have led in this crisis? Here are a few observations. Continue reading
What we are seeing happen around the world in response to the coronavirus – mass cancellations in the sports and entertainment arenas, schools moving exclusively to online classes, businesses asking their employees who can work from home to do so – is unprecedented in my lifetime. This is all being done to try to slow down the spread of the virus.
Technology allows for schools and workplaces to continue to function during times like this. I completed most of my seminary education online. For me, and others, this option allowed me to get a degree in a way that worked with my particular situation, which included working full-time and living a few hours from the seminary.
The organization that I worked at my entire career has just asked those that can work from home to do so, effective immediately. For most, I would expect that this will not be a concern at all. In fact, near the end of my career, many of my team members chose to work from home one day a week. Online meeting technologies have improved significantly over the past several years, and many people would even occasionally choose to use that format as a convenience to attend meetings even if they were onsite in our large campus.
As I started my day the last several years of my career, I would begin each morning by working a few hours at home before going into work. This was primarily to prepare for the day and to get caught up on email. I worked from home an entire workday just a few times, and frankly didn’t really enjoy it. Even though I found that I could probably be more productive working at home – due to a lack of interruptions, etc. – I found myself missing the in-person interaction with team members and others, which some may find surprising, as I am an introvert.
If you are in a situation where you find yourself working from home (for weeks, or even months, potentially), how can you make the most of it? Here are a few suggestions:
- Settle into a routine. Determine your usual location to work, and then make sure you are logged on at the time you would normally be in the office. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work out on the deck/patio on a beautiful day, but find your default location and primarily stick with that. Some might choose to work at a coffee shop, but you would be opening yourself up to distractions and perhaps security/confidentiality issues as well if you chose to work there.
- Be physically comfortable. Enjoy staying in your pajamas/sweats/yoga pants! If possible, use an ergonomically (adjustable) chair, have proper lighting, etc., so that your body is comfortable sitting for long periods of time. You won’t have meetings to walk to, so make it a point to get up to stretch at least every hour. A suggestion I have heard in regards to the virus is to take a drink of water every 15 minutes. One person suggested setting a reminder on your smart phone to remind you to do so. And remember, refrain from touching your face; this will be hard to do as you sit at your computer all day.
- Be a worker with character. A definition of character that I’ve used for years is “doing the right thing with nobody watching”. Discipline yourself to not check social media, not have the television on, or not do household chores such as laundry, except on breaks. Be a worker – and person – that your leader can trust explicitly.
These are 3 suggestions I had on how to effectively work from home during this period. What would you add to this list?