NEW YORK, (July 13, 2020) – Shelley Tanner, SanovaWorks CEO/President
Diary of a Remote Worker
Continuing with our Diary of a Remote Worker series, my longtime colleague, friend, and Medical Director Extraordinaire, Donald Morcone, gives his best survival tips on being a remote worker, and what he’s re-reading from his bookshelf.
What is your speciality at work? Do you have a super power? Brag on yourself.
Celebrating the success of others.
Who is your work hero or shero? What is their superpower?
My work (s)hero is Miss Luz Figueroa. Her energy is limitless and infectious. Working alongside Luz is a constant inspiration.
How has life during the pandemic changed for you? Stayed the same?
My life has not been overtly effected by the pandemic. I have been working remotely for 7 years, so there has been no transitioning from face-to-face daily work and my M-F routine is not changed. I have been called on to accelerate my work and my workload has substantially increased so my working hours have increased.
What do you miss the most about life pre-pandemic?
I miss being able to read a person’s face, not just listen to what they are saying when enaged in conversation. Interactions with others wearing a mask does not allow me to observe facial queues and a persons lines, wrinkles, etc. tell me so much. I also miss shopping! I have always rewarded myself for a difficult work day by going shopping. I miss the opportunity to physically volunteer. Working remotely is somewhat isolating and I have enjoyed going to an organization and interfacing with others in a volunteer capacity.
What challenges have you and/or your family faced during the pandemic?
I made a major life change in December 2019 by moving to a new home in a semi-rural beach town on Cape Cod. I was just getting settled in to a new way of life, beginning to meet new people and get involved in town live and that was abruptly halted when the shelter-in-place restrictions were imposed. I had several weekend trips planned to visit friends in NYC which have been postponed indefinitely and I have not seen some of my closest friends in 6 months.
What’s your best advice for those people who are brand new to remote work?
Be disciplined. Dedicate a space in your home just for work. Don’t have a television on in the background. Limit your time spent checking personal email, texts, social media. Take breaks. I get so engrossed in what I’m doing that I often skip lunch.
What are your top 3 remote worker survival tips?
First, set a routine for yourself; get ready for work every morning, just as if you were leaving your home (shower, shave, make the bed, wear shoes!). Second, take breaks. And third, set boundaries; do not accept meetings, calls, etc. after respectable work hours and when you close down for the day, do not check email throughout the evening. Those of us who work remotely work longer hours since there’s no commuting time and work is just an arm-stretch away from everything.
What have you mastered about working remote – that you had challenges with at the start – or saw a better way to do?
I have always been a very disciplined worker and employee. I was raised by depression-era parents who instilled a heavy work ethic and inspired dedication to my work and employer. That said, I tend to over-work, so I have learned to set boundaries and balances for myself.
What are you reading for enrichment or just for fun? Work or non-work?
I have not been able to go to the library or book store in several months so I have been re-reading some of the classics on my bookshelf. I just re-read The House of Seven Gables, The Sun Also Rises (I only read it in French, so this was my first time reading it in English!) and Pride and Prejudice.
What’s on the menu? What are your favorite foods that you are indulging in or purely enjoying during this virus spring?
I have always cooked extensively for myself and others on a daily basis and bake several times per week. I’ve been baking a lot of bread (as my expanding waistline shows) and I’ve been churning my own sweet butter in an antique hand-cranked churn. I have started to eat ice cream just about every day and will start making homemade ice cream now that summer is upon us.
Speaking of self care, what do you do to reward yourself after a long week or a personal or professional success?
I am lucky to now be living at the beach. I am 2/10th mile to Nantucket Sound and 1 Mile to the Atlantic Ocean so I try to get down to the beach or town harbor every night. The light, air, and expanse of the ocean offers me a great sense of vastness and renewal. During the winter months I would light a fire in the fireplace, enjoy a glass of cab and zone out.
What is in your Netflix, [Hulu, Amazon, AppleTV, etc.] queue? What are your recommendations? Why?
My guilty pleasure is the soap opera genre. I have been watching a lot of serial-type television on-demand and I’ve just finished 5 seasons of Brothers & Sisters. I can’t wait until Hollywood reopens and The Young and the Restless starts to film.
How do you stay positive?
I remind myself that I have many blessings in my life, some given to me by the universe, and others earned by my personal discipline. I remind myself that my issues and problems are insignificant in the greater scheme of things.
Have you taken up any new hobbies? Learned a new skill?
I have revived my interest in cross stitch embroidery and I’ve been working on a Christmas tree skirt that probably will be finished in 10 years (I’m very slow). I have also started collecting sea glass on my ocean walks. I now have a large outdoor space and have just planted a pollinator garden.
What are you most grateful for right now?
I am grateful for my physical and mental health, for my steady state of employment, for living in an idyllic environment. I am grateful for my many friendships.
Any other shout outs or closing thoughts?
I am happy to be healthy.