Working from home… during a pandemic

This image is to backdrop what Melanie's work from home looks like during the Covid-19 crisis.

Melanie displays, ‘Bears on computer screens, for when we can’t see them in the field’ while working from home during the Covid-19 crisis.

As we begin to adapt towards physical distancing measures in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with not only the emotional challenge of digesting what the world is experiencing, but also the complexity of merging work and home life. While academic pressure towards productivity during this time is thankfully low, the expectation that we place on ourselves (esp. early career researchers) often remains high, even during unsettling times. How do we find the time and mental capacity to stay updated on the pandemic, comprehend the suffering of others, check-in (distantly) with family and friends, care for loved ones, provision for our households, and protect our own mental and physical health, while being productive in our research? 

When experiencing a crisis, everyone has their own strategies and coping mechanisms, which can help in regaining a sense of control. For some people, work can actually provide stability during this time of uncertainty, and a welcome distraction from the reality of living through a pandemic. 

With this in mind, I have been drawn towards writings on coping strategies and initiatives to help facilitate the continuation of research throughout and beyond this current period. Here is a list of a few that I have found useful: 

Co-working ideas

  • Co-working hour on Zoom (or similar platform). Search ‘co-working zoom’ on Twitter to join existing ones
  • Find a #remotework buddy (updates, plans, accountability)
  • Slack channels to stay connected with peers (social & work related)

Useful twitter threads on home working

Initiatives focused on data-sharing as alternatives for cancelled field seasons

  • Ecology/conservation datasets for grad students (Jesse Alston)
    • google sheet set up for any students who will miss out on data collection due to COVID-19. Folks are offering up opportunities to work on existing datasets and contact details are provided. 
  • Datasets for all scientific disciplines (OtletResearch)
    • ‘Match making students affected by COVID restrictions with pre-existing datasets’. Register to share data or if you would like to collaborate:

Share your research virtually

Stay engaged with the scientific community 

  • Webinars/virtual workshops (e.g. Wildlabs have uploaded all of their virtual meetup series to their YouTube channel)

Articles/blogs on home working and working during a crisis

While the world is changing around us, it is comforting to witness the scientific community supporting one another and attempting to mitigate the professional consequences that the COVID-19 pandemic will have, especially on those early in their careers.  

Melanie Clapham

Postdoc, Raincoast ACS Lab