Work from home setup, as they say, is the new normal in many industries around the world. It has been acknowledged and accepted by different companies worldwide since the start of the pandemic. The transition of the new work setup wasn’t as easy as it sound for many people, my husband included.
Last year, we welcomed year 2020 with high hopes for the future, but the year has laid out something different for all of us. The events of 2020 has perversely changed many lives. Some negatively, and some unexpectedly positive. No one expected and wanted a pandemic to happen, but we are in it. We are still in it, and we keep moving forward even so.
Work From Home
The work from home (WFH) setup is not new to me anymore, I took the challenge long ago. I have been freelancing since 2011. With not much background with freelancing and work from home, a desktop PC and a stable 3Mbps internet service (yes, it was already fast back then), I took the leap. It was a huge decision for me to make and take. That decision was something I had to make for the benefit of both my girls. I know that with proper time management and great self-discipline, I can do it. I held on to the words, that I also kept reminding the girls, “If you can think or dream it, you can do it“.
Believe it or not, there are still many people thinking that the work from home setup is just so easy and there is not much effort necessary. The first few months I started working from home, I even received harsh comments and unpleasant questions about what I really do online. I was in total shock that someone I actually respect would dare ask an unimaginable and nasty question. I was hurt back then, but now, I can’t help but laugh how low that person can be.
Setting aside what other people think, hopeful and optimistic with my decision, I went on and really worked hard to find clients. It was difficult and really challenging, but who can stop a mom with high hopes for her family? Nothing. So, the husband continued his job in the facilities department of a BPO company, and I jumped in the work from home setup completely. I also continued on with blogging and with a friend’s help, I was able to start this site as side hustle. With blogging, I enjoyed, learned and earned.
Since we live in a small apartment, I remember to have set up a little corner for the desktop computer and moved my younger daughter’s crib right next to it. Because of our setup, little miss Roey learned to use the mouse and headset a little early. I allow her to watch shows for kids online during my break. I am really thankful that the first clients I was able to meet and work with gave me flexible schedule. They were understanding enough that I also needed to attend to my children.
My first foreign clients entrusted me with their Pinterest account. There wasn’t much virtual assistants at that time who handle clients present in the Pinterest platform. I was really enjoying those jobs I found from Upwork. I get to browse and save (pin) beautiful images of home interiors, found recipes and learned photography tips. That was also when I added a new goal for us – own a house. I found images of architectural designs that actually gave me the excitement. Those images also contributed to my determination in succeeding with the work from home setup.
I met a part time real estate agent through a mom group I joined. She was able to convince us to invest in a condo unit for our family. We almost availed the unit we have been eyeing in a low-rise condominium. A cousin lives there and has early on suggested to avail the services of an engineer they know of. The place is just few minutes away from my elder daughter’s school and isn’t far from my in-laws too. The facilities and amenities were all good. We know a lot of families from the community already, our co-parents from Kea’s school. It was perfect for the four of us, in fact.
We were almost ready with all the requirements, except for the Pag-Ibig loan we were suppose to apply for. We have already planned our finances at that time and has computed our monthly amortization. I was already imagining my own little office where all work necessities are well-organized. Everything was going according to plan, except that our real estate agent was a sham. Dismayed by the news her co-worker told me, I tried to reach out on her, but she has already deactivated her phone numbers and social media accounts. That experience has somehow made me decide to put aside our dream home goal. We realized that it wasn’t really the right time yet.
Year 2020 WFH Challenge
The Corona virus pandemic did not only change our so called normal living, but also included changes in the already existing work from home setup. The pandemic somehow forced a lot of industry to give the work setup a chance. BPO industries made adjustments to accommodate and provide their employees’ needs for the setup to work. Companies provided computers, phones, headsets and ISP subscriptions. A couple I know actually availed of a loan to be able to build and connect another room next to their bedroom. It serves as their small office, as they both started working from home and manage an online business too. Although many individuals lost their jobs, the events of 2020 also opened opportunities to some.
Our children also had to make adjustments with their education and embrace distance (online) learning. My elder daughter regrets that the quarantine protocols started the week of their defense. It saddened her that their batch wasn’t able to experience the normal graduation ceremony. Roey, on the other hand, got a little excited with the “home schooling” idea. We also decided to transfer her to a different school. The husband started working from home too and it became totally overwhelming for him. He supervises the facilities of a BPO company and there were still a lot of people who work on-site (more than the ones working from home). After about 3 months, he later on submitted his resignation.
Kea was supposedly entering college already, but she talked to us and decided to skip schooling this school year. She used her time in practicing digital arts and attended workshops online. She later on landed a gig and was mentored by a good friend. She also opened up her Redbubble and Shopee shops. She also helped with how our work and study from home station was setup. Her dad bought a new desktop computer she can use for her arts, while Roey uses the laptop.
Just like us, many families made changes with their goals. Since COVID-19 entered our lives, we all have learned to adjust and realize other goals. Others made different considerations with real estate investments they took on just before the pandemic. Our neighbor however, because of the pandemic, decided and recently posted online that they are selling half of their lot. It could have been a great investment if only it wasn’t instantly availed by another neighbor. They have already started construction right after the papers were completed.
So for now, since we still have Covid-19 present in our lives, I am just considering a home renovation. I am not so sure though if we will be allowed to occupy the apartment unit behind ours, just so we can finally have a decent home office, expand the girls’ bedroom and the kitchen.
The situation we are still on may have brought drastic changes with all our lives. We were all surprised and scared with the negativity at first, but learned to slowly find positive things and opportunities too. Some of my friends who started WFH has been thinking of continuing with it permanently. Well, it isn’t so much a bad idea especially for parents. I’ve read that even Google has announced that they will continue with remote work until the third quarter of 2021. I just really wish and pray that we all remain safe and eventually be able to achieve the goals we never gave up but just had to temporarily set aside. And yes, that includes travel goals and our dream home.