Forgiveness and Grace: Surprising Advice for Working From Home

Carolyn Brzezicki, Clinical Content Specialist Manager

Editor’s note: Like many companies, Healthwise recently made the decision to have employees work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. We turned to Carolyn Brzezicki, Healthwise’s clinical content specialist manager and long-time offsite team member, for tips and tricks on working from home successfully. Her advice was so good that we had to share.


I’ve been an offsite employee for over 15 years. Now that our staff will be working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has asked me to provide some “tips and tricks” for everyone new to the remote work environment.

Here is my tip: Don’t worry about it right now.

Under normal circumstances, we’d recommend a bunch of best practices around technology, ergonomics, and work/life balance. But let’s be honest. These are not normal circumstances.

If your baby is crying, your dog is barking, your video isn’t shared, you aren’t muted… it’s okay. You don’t have to learn all of this in a few days. And giving you a list of rules right now isn’t going to help you be successful.

What will work is forgiveness and grace. The low hum of anxiety is coming out as anger, tears, exhaustion, and insecurity. We’re grieving the known, and grief is very uncomfortable. Most people try to escape grief as much as possible. It’s a painful feeling, and we will do everything we can to avoid it.

So, if you’re feeling unproductive or inefficient or annoyed or mad, is it because you’re working offsite and you need tips? Or is it because the world feels like a different place right now and you don’t like it?

Let’s revisit the tips and tricks, but not right now. Let’s set aside expectations about “being our best selves” and just lean into the relationships we’ve built with each other. Forgive. Take deep breaths. Be okay with the dog and the baby. Gently remind each other to share video, or stop sharing video, or mute, or unmute.

Accept the restlessness within you as normal, and talk about it.