Susan Josi
Apr 15, 2020

Work from home diary: Life lessons from the Corona crisis

The author highlights some important life lessons she has learnt during the last few weeks

Work from home diary: Life lessons from the Corona crisis
Corona has brought with it a wave of negative outcomes, but it has also highlighted some important life lessons. It indeed took a pandemic to teach us this.
While Coronavirus gets its name from the word ‘corona’ which means ‘crown’ in Latin, in my view, CORONA stands for - 
The power of human Connection
Social distancing has been the biggest game changer. Many things that we took for granted now seem so valuable - a hug, a simple handshake or just that human connection when we meet someone. Being a pharmacist by qualification I can’t help giving the scientific theory of what a hug can do to our body physiologically. When we hug, our oxytocin levels go up. This powerful hormone is often called “the bonding hormone” and has the ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of trust. It also has the peripheral ability to reduce stress. 
Social distancing makes our need for human connections even stronger. I have now re-connected with so many people whom I had lost touch with in the busyness of life. That’s the new way of building my oxytocin levels to manage these challenging times.
A string of Opportunities 
A few days ago, Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and MD of HUL, made a very pertinent point. Just like how Y2K gave an impetus to the IT industry, post Covid the one industry that will get the maximum fillip will be healthcare. As a healthcare marketing professional, I couldn’t agree more. It is time we prioritise health and public healthcare services in India. If we do, India truly has the potential to become the medical capital of the world. As they say, in the midst of difficulty, lies opportunity. 
The spirit of Resilience
Resilience is a key coping skill needed during these turbulent times. However, it is a strange contradiction that we are faced with today -personal anxiety and professional urgency. And so while I understand the demands made by our clients, I also feel the anxieties of people who juggle between work & daily chores, with no dedicated work areas, children interrupting and more than one family member working from home. All of them squeezing the maximum from their Internet bandwidth. That’s when I take a deep breath and empathise while holding forth to cope with business realities.
The power of Optimism
Take one day at a time. This too shall pass. You will find a better version of yourself after this. These are the affirmations that I make to myself and my colleagues. Now is the time to develop a new skill, rediscover yourself. And so here I am learning, baking bread, creating family videos and brushing up my knowledge on human psychology.
Embracing the new Normal  
New normal - the buzz word today. There were so many occasions in the past when we wanted to institute work from home for almost 40 per cent of our staff. And every time, we were challenged with issues and concerns which only made it an idea on paper. Today we can actually see this as a reality and my belief is that there would be many who will opt for WFH in future. The new-age media is helping us navigate and embrace this journey with useful tips and tools. And so when I can’t do my regular 5k runs outdoor, I found new ways of expending the same amount of calories through house work and indoor exercises. 
The value of Appreciation 
In India we are so pampered with a convenience of having a helper, cook, driver and other home services. And so, when you have to do all the cleaning, cooking, washing and other housekeeping chores that we had offloaded to others, we realise their true value in our lives. While on one hand I have become self-reliant, my heart brims with gratitude to each and every one who goes that extra mile to make life comfortable for us, more so to the healthcare and other essential services support staff.
(The author is managing partner, Havas Life Sorento.)


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