I Miss the Personal Connections
As a Service & Support Associate, I’ve had the privilege to work from home a couple days a week for the last six years. But those times teleworking could not prepare me for the COVID-19 Stay at Home order. Working from my home every day has been an interesting experience. I miss the simple things: the morning talk show I listen to on my way to work, access to a printer and scanner, lunches with co-workers, and my unwind time with the radio blaring to 80’s music as I head home for the day.
The hardest part of working from home has been missing the personal connections with people on my case load. Part of my job is to develop a relationship with individuals: have face-to-face conversations, visit them at home, take them out to lunch, and just see their smiles. Some individuals have a wonderful team of family and friends to support them. Others only have their SSA. For the last six weeks, I have relied on phone conversations and video meetings to connect with people. Although these conversations are informative, it just isn’t the same as seeing someone in person or watching their face light up as you walk into the room.
Let’s think for a second about how difficult this Stay at Home order has been. We’ve been unable to go anywhere, unable to see our friends, family, and co-workers. It is the same for individuals with developmental disabilities. Their routines are different. They are unable to see their family and friends. They are laid off from their jobs. Their personal connections are missing. We are all craving to get back to a normal routine and visit with people who mean the most to us.
With that said, there are pros to working from home. Since all meetings are virtual, I can fit more in a day. I can call and check in on people very easily, even making contact daily. Plus, I have unlimited access to snacks and I can have lunch outside on my porch, if mother nature cooperates. I can wear my slippers all day if I want!
As we look at what the next several months will look like, I encourage everyone to make those in-person visits by following social distancing and utilizing PPE. Have those driveway conversations and window visits. Bring someone lunch and have a social distancing picnic. Continue to develop those personal connections that we all are missing during this unusual time in our lives.