Illustration by Wendy Fox

Crises affect people differently, and people respond to them differently.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve observed the natural and understandable reactions of many people – my own colleagues, friends and family included – as we all attempt to cling to normality. Zoom seminars and listicles spruiking home productivity and remote collaboration tips have been hastily assembled and marketed, and others are framing this moment as an opportunity to learn new skills. 

Through all of this, we have one message, for you and for ourselves: It’s okay not to feel productive, and it’s okay to slow down. 

Not just okay – unavoidable.

First, work can’t simply be transposed like-for-like into the digital. The technologies we have available to us are incredible, but they’re still harder to use and more tiring than in-person alternatives. It’s possible to work remotely, yes, but it’s still harder, and it’s okay if you don’t feel on top of it.

Second, the changes we’re going through right now are fundamental. We are not just working from home, we’re trying to work from home in the midst of a health and economic crisis. These are very different things.  

Thirdly, changes are unevenly distributed. On the one hand, there is a powerful (and real) sense of being in this together. On the other hand, everyone’s individual circumstances will necessitate a different response. Some people live alone; some people have kids at home. Both have their own challenges. Some people have vulnerable family members, or are more vulnerable themselves. It’s okay if work is not your top priority right now (and it’s okay if it is!) 

We are getting glimpses of what ‘after’ might look like – of more thoughtful ways to work, collaborate with and care for others. But we don’t have to decide it all right now, today.

Today, it’s okay to slow down. 

— Chris Marmo and the PG Team

Read the rest of Issue #55 here