We are without a doubt facing “unprecedented times”. The “global pandemic” has shaken the entire world to its very core and has resulted in a huge shift in the way we all live and work. Whilst we can only hope that we can look back one day soon  and think of our “quarantine-life” as a thing of the past (cheers to that), let’s pause for a second whilst we are still living in the WFH, sanitizer-for-shower-gel, pandemic-frenzy, and think about a few habits and phrases that this much-hated year 2020 has sprung upon us. 

1. “Can you hear me?” and “Can you see my screen?” 

It used to be “Goodmorning” (or a mumble of the sort), but how many of us now actually start our day with the phrase “Can you hear me”? And, seriously, why not just assume that we can hear you until we say otherwise? You know, the way we’ve been doing it over the phone for the last 30 odd years… And as if that wasn’t enough, “can you see my screen?” seems to be becoming more and more popular when screen-sharing...you know, when your screen actually does what it’s supposed to because the year is, after all, 2020 and technology is actually a thing. 

2. Wearing gym attire from the waist down

Did anyone else decide one fine day during lockdown that they might start dressing to zoom the same way they would if they were going to the office? How did that one work out for ya? To be fair, if people can only see you from the chest upwards, why even bother wearing anything (now hold on…👀!) other than PJ’s or leggings from the waist downwards? In fact, we actually think clothing brands will start creating t-shirts and jumpers that look smart only from the chest upwards. 

3. Feeling proud of yourself every time you sanitize

Ah, the days when your parents would actually praise you every time you had a bath and looked all cute, clean and tidy. Perhaps COVID-19 has brought to light a whole lot of adult babies in that sense. I know I’ve seen it, and I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of it myself… that sense of accomplishment everytime you sanitize your hands, at the office, at a dinner table, on the tube. In fact, you always want to rub your hands for a few seconds longer, just to make sure more people have seen you. (*pats one's own shoulder, after sanitizing of course).

4. A /giphy [for everything]

 

 

Seriously, thank goodness for /giphys. One of the hardest things of working remotely is transferring humour to the online world. “Banter” is just not the same online, and the human element of laughing with colleagues is one of the things that most of us miss in our everyday lives. But we’ve all progressed from the world of “LOLs” and emojis to signify our more humorous sides. Now we just /giphy the cr*p out of everything. P.S, don’t forget to let your colleagues know when you actually find theirs as funny as yours. 

5. Panic every time someone coughs, even if it’s on zoom

Oh, the guilt of coughing in public. Let’s face it, we’d rather sit there silently choking on our piece of toast than let anyone think we may be super-spreading COVID-19. We’re now so terrified of the slightest sign of a cough or cold that we actually stare people down for even daring to accidentally let out a germ-parading sneeze. 

6. Power naps after lunch

OK, so this may sound like a good one, but what happens when we’re back in our usual lives, going to the office every day, having lunch, and then (*gasp) having to be back at our desks clunking away at the keyboard without so much as a 15-minute siesta in-between? Unimaginable. Thanks 2020, for showing us the joy of this one only to take it away from us someday.

7. Asking people you haven’t spoken to before how they are finding WFH, 8 months in

 Why is it that conversation on zoom calls seems so much more awkward than face-to-face meetings? It’s almost as if the fact that people are solely focusing on your face as opposed to anything else in the room, or body movements etc., adds a certain pressure to what comes out of your mouth. And in those awkward moments when you are still waiting for everyone to join the call, when half of us have our cameras off and have muted ourselves to avoid any excess conversation, someone has to break the ice and say something, right? Our go-to phrase is still asking people how they are finding WFH, 8 months in. Please, if you have a better one, tweet @talentdeskio and help us!

8. Not knowing when it’s OK to speak on zoom calls 

Did we know how to talk to people before COVID-19? Could’ve fooled us. Apart from the awkward introductory phrases as per above, it seems that we’re also finding when to say something without interrupting, a puzzle. On a call with quite a few participants, when delays in camera movements or voice transmission make it that much more difficult to grasp timing, we often find ourselves interrupting a colleague or a manager, and then having to awkwardly apologize. Zoom should seriously create some sort of intelligent queuing feature to avoid this madness.

9. Finding actual proximity with actual human beings, weird

They say people are social creatures, not cut out for 2-dimensional relationships. However, within a few months, we’re worried that this is a malleable habit. Since the pandemic turned our lives upside down, most of us have retreated into Netflix evenings, zoom-drinks with friends, deliveroo-nights-in, and much entertainment that involves not much more than a couch and screen. Because of these newly-enhanced habits, we’re now finding interaction with 3-D creatures quite odd, dare we say, even annoying? Whilst we definitely miss hanging out with our colleagues, friends, families etc., the world of COVID-19 has resulted in agoraphobia and anthropophobia. We may need to figure out a way to fix this one. 

So these are some of the main habits and phrases we have 2020 to thank for. Here’s hoping we can look back on them sometime soon as a mere distant memory rather than reality.