By Nick Caravella, AIA, Chair of the AIA Colorado Emerging Professionals Working Group 

Dear ARCH-ie, 

Work is often depleting to me, and as a social person I usually use my community to metaphorically “refill my cup” but during the lock down, that hasn’t been as possible, although friends are always digitally in touch. For this, and many reasons, maintaining productivity at work has been very challenging. Is there a good way to communicate to my team leaders “hey, this is a tough time for me but I’m doing my best, don’t ditch me because I’ve been less productive during a trying time” without communicating the idea to your boss of “I’m just not getting a lot done?” I don’t want them to lose faith in my abilities or think of me as weak, but some days it feels nearly impossible to tackle simple tasks and like everything is a mental hurdle. Any advice appreciated!


COVID- what is it good for – absolutely nothing! 


Dear COVID- what is it good for – absolutely nothing! 

Dealing with burnout during COVID can be difficult, especially for our extroverts who recharge their batteries through social interaction. It’s hard to feel down or unproductive, but we have to remember it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Your question about how to refill your cup and communicate to your teams reminds me of a great TEDx by Brene Brown on The Power of Vulnerability.

In the talk, Brene goes into the importance of having these difficult conversations with people and how they can enhance our relationships. It’s also important to understand those individuals may be feeling equally as vulnerable as well and it can be a great starting point to have a conversation on how not only can the team address your needs to find some time to recharge, but also talk about how the company can better respond to the stresses in this climate. This might mean expanding beyond remote work to a more flexible schedule. I myself have broken my work day up by starting a little earlier and taking more breaks to go running or prep a meal. Find something that works for you, and pitch it to your team to see if that is something they’d be open to.

Ultimately the best decision is to make sure you can take care of yourself. Even though we’re distancing, taking a day off to lounge around in your PJ’s can be the exact break to the monotony of staying inside and working. Finding new ways to reconnect through digital coffee sessions and video chats are another great way to inject social opportunities into your life. Keep your head up and remember, this too shall pass.




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  • QuaranThom Mayne
  • Wrank Floyd Height (WFH)
  • Couch Potato

Examples of questions you might ask:

  • I’ve been lacking motivation without my team around. What helps you stay inspired and on task?
  • My connection seems slower than my parents’ 1990 Macintosh Classic. What are other firms doing to increase efficiency and speeds while working from home?
  • What shows/movies do you recommend for my quaranteam, the stay-at-home-streamers?