- FaceTiming my colleagues while working from home has helped me feel connected to my job amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Working remotely from Austin, I often feel detached from my life in New York – most of which is my job at Insider Inc.
- Although I love the work, company culture at the Insider office played a larger role in my happiness at work than I realised, including fostering wholesome workplace friendships.
- I try to FaceTime my work friends during times we would normally hang out in the office, like during lunch and in the afternoons.
- Staying connected to my work friends helps me stay positive while I’m at home during the pandemic.
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I started my job at Insider Inc. on the same day as Caroline Fox, Will Fischer, and Ben Winck. Over time, they became my best friends at work.
We all met in a conference room on July 8, 2020 – our first day at Insider Inc. All assigned to different teams, we were the last group of summer fellows to enter the company, so we decided to stick together.
We referred to ourselves as the Newbies, and we started spending time together in the office. We would let each other know when we were taking lunch and when we wanted to share workspaces.
We were all lucky enough to get hired at Insider after our fellowships concluded. Every day at work, I look forward to seeing them.
Even after we found our own feet at the company, the four of us continued to spend lunches together when schedules allowed and meet up outside of work regularly.
But missing my co-workers was the last thing on my mind as the coronavirus began to spread in New York and we began to work remotely.
I underestimated how much I value working independently next to my friends – sometimes giggling, sometimes silent – nearly every afternoon at the Insider office.
Although they don’t change the work itself, having them around improved my mood on the days that seemed the hardest and the longest.
It wasn’t until Fox told me she was going home to Washington DC to wait out the pandemic that I started to realise how much not having them around would affect me.
It wasn’t until about one week into remote work that I began to feel down about not seeing my favourite colleagues.
Fox called me the first Saturday after we started working remotely to tell me that her parents were picking her up from New York to take her to their home in Washington DC.
My heart sank in that moment, not just because she was leaving New York, but because that was the first moment that realised that the coronavirus would have lasting effects on everyone’s lives.
Luckily, they felt the same way. We started FaceTiming and video chatting during lunches, breaks, and after work hours.
According to an Insider article that rounds up experts’ tips for dealing with anxiety and loneliness amid the pandemic, staying connected to people virtually can help manage sadness while stuck at home.
Since we stopped seeing one another in person, Fox, Fischer, Winck, and I haven’t stopped checking in with each other during the week.
We FaceTime when our schedules allow during the times when we would normally hang out in the office – lunchtime and at the end of the workday.
We don’t connect as consistently as we do in the office. But when we do talk, it brings me right back to the 8th floor of Liberty Plaza – our office in New York – and it reminds me how great my job can make me feel under normal circumstances. Company culture is one of the things I love most about Insider Inc.
Not seeing my friends has only gotten harder, but seeing their faces makes it a little easier.
Even more than Fischer and Winck, I talk to Fox to feel connected to Insider.
Fox and I have solved problems and motivated each other through tough workdays since we started working together at Insider, so continuing to prioritise her friendship has been really important for me through this pandemic.
Fox and I connect when we’re feeling especially drained or sad about the devastating impacts of the pandemic, and we remind each other that we’re not alone in feeling this way during work. We also connect over simple pleasures we can still enjoy, like jokes, memes, and the various meals and desserts were making and eating.
Staying connected with my work friends improves my mood while I’m working, and it reminds me while stuck at home that I’m a part of something bigger.
And once all this is over, I’ll be back in the office with the Newbies. But for now, virtual time with my work friends is helping me get through the pandemic.
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