COVID-19 Staff Stories

Natalie Kam

As I had been keeping up with the news on the COVID-19 situation, it wasn’t a shock to me when our company announced that we would be proceeding with a WFH plan. A lot people around me had already started to do so. While I recognized that a lot of my coworkers and our company as a whole needed to make a lot of changes to adapt and roll out the plan, I personally didn’t have an issue…initially.

My initial thoughts were:

  • I’m good, I’m all set up to WFH already.
  • I’ll be able to use the 4 hours I save from my commute.
  • I get to see my husband and kids more!
  • I’m an introvert; I’m ok not seeing anyone else outside of my family during this time.
  • I’ll be ok through all this. I’ve got this.

After the first 2 days of WFH and the COVID-19 situation evolving, my initial thoughts quickly changed to:

  • I am not set up to WFH with a husband and 2 toddlers.
  • The 4 hours saved is now used to deal with the kids or used to work since I keep on being interrupted by my toddlers who have grown immensely clingy. There were no usual office hours anymore; it was working before the kids woke up in the morning and after they were asleep at night.
  • Can someone please take my kids for a few hours? I need to focus; I can’t afford to lose my job.
  • Still an introvert and still okay being home, but now my daily work routine needs to change. I have to set up more Zoom meetings because I can’t just ask a question while passing by someone at the office.
  • People around me are losing their jobs. Will I lose my job? I’m stressed. How can I manage all this? Yes, I’m stressed.

Finding a new routine has been the most difficult challenge along with being able to set my priorities between work and family. How do I manage my full-time job while meeting the needs of being a full-time mom? The worries that came from both a work and personal level caused quite a bit of anxiety. What do I focus on first? As someone who likes to multi-task and is usually the planner in the family, it’s a bit embarrassing to say that the emotions and stress the COVID-19 crisis has caused put me in such a flustering situation.

However, I’ve been very fortunate. I don’t take for granted that not only do I still have my job but I also have a very supportive system at work and at home. Thanks to daily communication and check-ins from my manager and the executive team at work, I have reassurance that Delvinia is still moving forward and for the time being I’ll still be able to support my family as usual. The most inspiring and comforting conversation I had shortly after the WFH plan started was with my CEO. He shared his perspective and experience on how he will continue to drive and lead our company forward during this hard time. Beyond that, his reminder to me that it’s important for us to be giving back to the community if we can and that even a simple check-in with those around us could go a long way was helpful. It brought things into perspective for me and allowed me to worry less about my job for a second and focus on setting my priorities for my family first. With a new routine set for the family, I was able to focus on managing my work more efficiently and be more productive. Of course, it also takes a lot of cooperation from my family.

We are in week 6 and I am happy to say that my family and I have a new routine, although it is still a work in progress. The kids have had more sleep than before which makes them more cooperative and easier to handle (most days). It hasn’t been easy. But between my husband and I making sure we don’t have overlapping meetings (so one of us can hold down the kids if required), jumping from one Zoom call to another, and pushing the introvert me to stay connected with family, friends and my team at work, I know we’ll get through this together and we’ll all have many stories to tell later.

We’ve got this.

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