One of the biggest changes in the past few months has been the massive shift toward remote work. Devon, 26, works in human resources for an oil and gas company in Calgary, and he hasn’t taken a break, even though his office has relocated to his kitchen table.
“[Right now], we have to pay close attention to the needs of our employees,” Devon says. “Really, I didn’t change much about my routine. I still work from 7:00 am to 5:00 p.m., catch up on all work minutiae in the morning and maintain my usual routine in the afternoon to keep ahead.”
Public relations professional Miriam, 27, feels the same way about keeping a strict schedule. “I’ve tried to maintain [structure] while self-isolating,” she says. “I sign off at 5:30 p.m. sharp and immediately go for a run. That way, I can have a firm end to my work day.”
Not everyone has the luxury of working full-time from home, however. Aris, 27, is an essential employee. He works with children and young adults with disabilities as a support worker. “I'm still going to work every day, just taking more precautions,” he says.
Aris feels lucky to still be receiving his full salary, especially because he makes room in his budget to help out family. “My mom is still in Congo DRC. I’m sending money home to support her while she rides out the pandemic,” he says, “So I am being careful with my [spending]. It’s a bit easier when I’m not eating out so much, though.”
It’s more of a puzzle for the thousands of people who have been laid off or furloughed, or whose hours have been cut back. Carmilla, 39, is a hair and makeup artist. With her work involving such close contact, the physical distancing measures caused her gigs to dry up almost overnight.
So she got creative. “I started teaching classes online,” she says. “I teach a skincare seminar and do a few makeup tutorials on Facebook Live with my clients.” She has also created a Business 101 class for emerging hair and makeup artists to help them navigate the industry.
“It’s everything from writing an email to budgeting. I didn’t originally have a plan for a pandemic in there...but now I do,” she laughs.