It’s the season for being thankful here in the US, and in this particular year, you might think that would be difficult. No lie — 2020 hasn’t been easy, and many of us have been working at home since March. The months in between have been turbulent and packed with unprecedented events that have forced us to work, live, and take care of our families in new and different ways.
However, while we might not be grateful for everything 2020 has brought our way, there are some things we are grateful for this year. Some are small, and some are big, but all of them have made us smile this year.
1) I am grateful I can work in my PJs.
Do you go straight from bed to work? Do you wear sweatpants during Zoom meetings? Hey, no one needs to know. As long as you look professional from the waist up and your work is done, there’s no reason to feel badly that you did it wearing your favorite jammies, yoga pants, or a unicorn onesie. You’re comfortable; you’re contributing; and you’re likely happy to have work to keep you busy and engaged in something beyond the walls of your home. (And honestly, everyone else is probably wearing sweatpants, too).
2) I am grateful to see so much of my family.
When we’re all home, all the time, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the fact that this year of family time is a gift, especially when fights break out over things like distance learning for yourself or the kids, keeping quiet during someone else’s meetings, or even keeping shared spaces clean. But when you get beyond the daily struggles, how often do we really get to spend this much time with our loved ones? In other years, families are constantly running — going to work, school, sports, meetings, and other commitments. This year, yes, everything has been canceled, but it’s given us time to connect.
3) I’m happy I see my pet so much.
Work is more fun with an animal office-mate. And you know your dog is going to be super sad when you have to go back to work. (Your cat might be too, but it’s hard to tell).
4) I love that I can spend my work breaks how I choose.
At the office, your breaks are short and usually limited to grabbing lunch or a coffee. But working remotely lets you make other choices on breaks — you can take a walk (maybe with your dog), read a book, catch up on playing Animal Crossing, or use the time for some additional online training.
5) I’m happy I don’t have to fly for training or conventions.
In-person trainings and conventions can be fun, but they can also be hectic, especially if you have to attend a lot of them, or if you don’t like flying or traveling for work. This year is a break from packing your bags, fretting about connecting flights, and worrying about reimbursement for travel expenses. You can learn just as well online, and many conferences have gone remote. In fact, you might even be able to attend conferences from home that you would not have been able to go to in person. There’s a bonus you might not have thought of!
6) I am grateful online training helps protect the environment.
This year has forced us all to take learning remote and it’s been better for the planet.
Think of all the plane rides and gasoline burned when people go to in person trainings, all the paper and printer cartridges used for handouts, and all the coffee cups and plastic water bottles used when people gather for training. It’s no surprise that a study conducted by the Open University of Britain found that distance learning consumes almost 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions than traditional learning.
7) I am grateful I have more flexibility with my eLearning at home.
Sometimes it’s hard to really take part in learning at work. There may be modules in your Learning Management System (LMS) that you’d like to take, but if you have a supervisor who believes that training takes time from doing “actual work,” that can be difficult. Bosses who want their teams to take only mandatory compliance courses, for example, rather than expand their leadership skills, soft skills, develop a new competency, or improve their wellbeing — these managers were a barrier to learning. But now, being at home has freed you up to take whatever courses you like whenever you want, and without your boss hanging over your shoulder.
8) I am grateful we are doing our part to keep everyone safe.
Working from home isn’t easy. It can be distracting. You might have to live in earplugs to get work done, or use Zoom backgrounds to hide your cluttered home from co-workers. It can be glitchy when you have to rely on your own wifi. It can be hard when you miss seeing your team in person. But by working from home, you’re keeping them and their families safe, so that when the pandemic ends you can see them in the flesh, safe and healthy. That’s something to be very grateful for.