For millennials and Gen-Zers, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most intense economic and social crisis we have faced in our lifetime. At first not everyone was taking it seriously (and some spring breakers in Florida still aren’t) but as things have gotten exponentially worse in such a short time, we are all faced with a new reality. And that reality looks a hell of lot like working from home for an undefined time period, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so.
Working from home for a couple days here or there is completely different from WFH indefinitely, which is sadly what the future holds right now. That fact in and of itself can be demotivating, so here are a few tips of how to stay motivated and productive when you’re stuck working from home.
Since you can’t go over to someone’s desk to talk to them like in the good old days, chances are you’re relying on a chat service like Slack to interact with your coworkers, or at a bare minimum, email. Think of all those little convos you have at work that aren’t necessarily meetings, but still are about projects you’re working on, like the quick unplanned touch base you and your work wife have as you make avocado toast in the office kitchen. Keep those convos alive—emails or Slack messages don’t all have to be super formal requests. Letting people know what you are working on and just providing status updates also helps motivate others because let’s be real, even in the office we can’t help but to think sometimes “WTF is that person even doing?” is they’re not Slacking you back immediately. But don’t just limit this to some people—keep your team and your manager informed.
Be Empathetic To Your Coworkers
If there was a time to be good f*cking coworker, this is it. Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently, and this is a highly stressful time. There also tons of different work from home situations that make things even stressful, like parents who are now home with their children, someone who lives alone and is struggling, or those people who now find themselves trying to have a conference call at the same time as their S.O. Now more than ever, you don’t know what people are dealing with, so before you send that aggressive Slack, think for an extra second.
Encourage Non-Working Ways Of Staying Connected
If you’re lucky enough to consider (some of) your coworkers your friends, that means you just went from seeing them all day every day to literally not at all. In the time of WFH, not everything has to be strictly business—get a virtual happy hour going through programs like Airtime, Zoom, or House Party, because let’s be real, you’re all looking for an excuse to start drinking at 4:30pm anyway.
Conduct Business As Usual
Don’t operate under the assumption that projects or conversations can wait until you’re back at work, since we legit have no idea when that will be. You don’t want to be the one person slacking off only to realize your entire team is operating status quo. Stay on top of your sh*t, create and maintain deadlines, and keep projects flowing. Despite this being a beyond hectic time, business as usual must continue to keep operations carrying on as seamlessly as possible.
Create Structure Around Your Day
If you used to work out before work, keep it up. If you used to work out after work, don’t stop just because you’ve spent all day inside. We all know it’s a hell of lot less motivating working out in the same space you’re spending all of your time in, so encourage yourself by taking an at-home workout class. We put together a list of 16 fitness apps and studios that are offering their home workout services online for free—check them out here. You’re welcome.
Take A Damn Shower & Change Out Of Your Pajamas
We’re not saying to take this as far as wearing jeans, but take a shower and put on some real clothes (and by real clothes we mean leggings and maybe a bra). We’ll take whatever hack we can to stay focused and feel like a real person during this extended WFH period and we guarantee the better you feel, the better you’re going to do at your job.
Images: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; @betches (2), @fatcarriebradshaw, @sarafcarter / Instagram
Late 20s culture is many things: your friends all getting married when you can’t even get a second date, your idea of cooking beginning and ending with boiling water to make pasta, and wondering at what age you officially have to start making your own doctors appointments. But probably the biggest aspect of late 20s culture is being stressed. Stressed about dating, stressed about work, stressed about the fact that our planet might be beyond repair and we may all die very soon in the real-life incarnation of 28 Days Later. And it’s no wonder we’re all stressed about work: college tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s, leaving many millennials saddled with debt ($17,126 per graduate who took out loans) that nearly half say wasn’t worth it. On top of that, millennials are underemployed, comprising 52% of hourly low-wage employees (yet about 61% attended college). More than half of millennials have a side hustle. Given all that information, it’s safe to say that we as a generation spend a lot of time thinking (worrying) about employment and money. So it should be no surprised that “burnout”, a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress, is not only an official term, but now an actual medical condition, according to the World Health Organization.
Late 20s culture is calling yourself an alcoholic who will never find love, but getting low-key offended when people tag you in memes about binge drinking and being alone forever
— sarafcarter (@sarafcarter) May 9, 2019
Do you feel that? That’s probably a weight getting lifted off your shoulders now that there’s an actual term for the crushing pressure you’ve been feeling for years. Or maybe that’s just me.
So, first of all, the fact that the WHO classified burnout as a real medical condition is a pretty big deal. Many look to the WHO for guidance, and since they included burnout in their latest handbook for recognized medical conditions (called the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health), it gives legitimacy to people who experience burnout. Think of it this way: the next time I cry to my dad about being overworked at my job
(when really I’m just having a bad Adderall comedown), and he tells me that I need to do something to manage my stress, I can be like, “look, I have an actual medical condition and it’s not just stress”.
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In other words, if you are actually experiencing burn-out, it’s important that the actual condition is recognized by the WHO so people don’t dismiss you as just being “stressed” or “tired” or “on your period”. Because, first of all, burnout only refers to the concept in the occupational context, so like, going on too many dates and being tired of searching for a romantic partner doesn’t qualify as burnout in the medical sense. It also has three qualifications to meet the definition:
1) Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion,
2) Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, or
3) Reduced professional efficacy
Cool, so I am like, 99% positive that I suffer from burnout right now. Or at least, that I have definitely suffered from it in the past (I go through those symptoms in waves). So the question is: What do I (or you, since you are reading this article) do about it?
In short, nothing really, right now. In theory, you could go to the doctor and get diagnosed with burnout (ruling out other similarly manifesting conditions, such as adjustment disorder, anxiety, or depression, The Cut notes). But then what? Can I use that to request extended time off, like would it qualify under short-term disability coverage? Can I get a Xanax prescription for it? (Kidding.)
Of course, burnout being classified as a medical condition by the WHO is a good thing, especially since, as the last two symptoms imply, it is bad for employers as well as employees. That might be the only way to get employers to actually care—to make it clear that overworking their employees can affect their own bottom line. It remains to be seen just what the impact will be of burnout being recognized as a medical condition, but, much like Instagram removing like counts, it’s better than nothing, and fixing our overly demanding corporate culture has to start somewhere.
Do you ever put a bullshit task on your to-do list just so you can feel like you accomplished something? Like “empty out trash folder” is not an accomplishment but it’s where I’m at today
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) March 15, 2019
Images: sarafcarter, betchesluvthis / Twitter; whenshappyhr / Instagram
The Betches discuss the Men Tell All on The Bachelorette and the Anthony Scaramucci situation. Dear Betches include having an emotionally abusive boss and whether you should tell your friend if her husband is cheating on her. We also played games, fucking duh.
Working fucking sucks. Sorry for all you college betches who watch too many movies where a hot 20-something has a cool job doing literally nothing and lives in a 3,000-square-foot Tribeca penthouse, but that’s not what it’s like out here. I’ve been out of college for what feels like forever just grinding away and I can barely afford to rent out a room in a shitty apartment in Queens, okay? And I’m not even poor-poor. I’m just millennial-who-graduated-during-the-Great-Recession-poor, which is like, America’s new middle class. But for British betches, or those of us in the States who are looking for just one more reason to place an ad on Craigslist with the subject SEEKING BRITISH HUSBAND: ALL AGES WELCOME, a new office building in London has announced that it will feature a “Champagne On Demand” button at every desk, meaning you can be both miserable and drunk, which is honestly one of every self-respecting millennials’ top five mental states after “tired and drunk” or “sad and sober.” Bloody brilliant, mate!
But before you go downloading British Bumble, or re-connecting with that one weird exchange student with the fucked up teeth from high school, slow your roll because the building isn’t ready yet, meaning you have some time to figure out your living arrangements abroad and what not. However, Enstar Capital, the luxury developer in charge of this incredible project has a pretty elegant plan for how to get Champagne into the hands of every thirsty (or bored) office member who needs it with this nifty button marked “Ring For Champagne” for those btton skeptics that don’t believe such a wonderful invention could ever be possible:
Legit, it could only be simpler if they installed a Champagne tap at every desk, with a funnel that goes straight into your mouth. What a time to be alive. And in case you were wondering, you can also order other bougie shit like caviar if you want your coworkers to know you fancy.
And for the low, low price of $688 a square foot, you too can convince your boss to install some Champs on demand buttons in your office! So if you work at a hedge fund or like, Google, this could be possible. For everyone else, we’re SOL.
If you’re thinking that this sounds v familiar, you’re probs like me and watch too much Bravo because Heather Dubrow from RHOC has one of these miraculous bubbly buttons in her closet. And while that’s cool and all, I need a buzz way worse when I’m doing stupid work shit than if I were to be in a closet that’s bigger than the aforementioned room in Queens. And while both sound amazing, a mansion in California with the world’s biggest closet, a Champagne button and a personal butler to bring it to me probs isn’t in the cards for a minute, so I guess for now I’m getting a job in London. Cheers!