Year in Review: The highs and lows of working from home during a pandemic

Posted at 4:51 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 00:07:48-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, local elected officials ordered many non-essential workers to work from home during the pandemic. NewsChannel 5 takes a look back at the year and how many of us managed to turn the home into the office.

In the spring of 2019, the Coronavirus had already hit Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee issued a stay-at-home order back in April. He ordered all non-essential workers to work from home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

It was even something worth singing about. Local Hendersonville musicians were making a song encouraging people to stay home as well as giving folks a chance to hear live music again.

"Being able to share my music and my outlook on things through music, it is a way for them to get on there and express my solace for them," said Drew Parker.

However, many working parents were turning the bedroom into the boardroom.

“The other days we just kind of ping pong it at home, when my husband has a call, I’m on kid duty, if I have a call, he’s on kid duty, but sometimes we have calls at the same time, so it’s nice to have some extra help," said Meagan Smith.

Smith has a baby, a 3-year-old, and a 5-year-old, she and her husband both work from home because of COVID-19.
And this family found a way to get work done and make sure the kids were also preoccupied – through a virtual babysitter.

“You can do whatever you know will keep your kids entertained.”

But with kids come distractions which is why people like Anna Palumbo needed a workspace away from the family.

"The ability to save time so you can spend more, you can be so much more productive in your work day, knowing that you've got time to take the dogs for a walk," said Palumbo, "You've got time to sit with your kids over homework and not feel rushed about, making dinner."

The Franklin interior designer figured since she must work from home, she decided to transform his backyard into his office. And from backyard offices to living room clinics, many people made working from home a success.

"I realized I can’t open a clinic right now because no one's going to come. So, I had this room in my home and I thought, I need to use it," said Jan Andrew, a family nurse practitioner.

Andrew was furloughed along with 150 others from her employer when the company saw a drop in patients because of COVID-19. But this nurse knew she needed to help.

"Initially I thought, well telehealth during the pandemic, probably a good idea. There’s a big demand for it right now with everyone quarantined at home, so that’s where it started."

However, working from home hasn’t always been a delight.

Reports show there’s been an increase in do-it-yourself injuries, back pain, eyestrains from staring at digital screens too long to even working from home burnout.

"A few days I would be fine and working fine and everything would be fine. And then on say a Friday I would feel like I couldn't even deal. Couldn't get up that day, couldn't get dressed, couldn't put a smile on."

As a mother of two young children, Jeanne Stafford thought working from home would be a nice change. But after two weeks of working remotely for a Massachusetts publishing house while also being a full-time mom, She was burnout. It's a condition doctors are seeing more than ever among people working from home.

"They feel a sense of hopelessness and they feel a sense of pessimism. It's almost like this idea, like, it doesn't matter. Whatever I do, no one's going to appreciate it," said Dr. Sue Varma, Psychiatrist.

Whether it was burnout, back pain or if it was a success, working from home during the pandemic; it was a new experience for several Americans.