Working through COVID-19

📅 Posted 2020-04-22

Boy, these sure are interesting times. I’ve been working from home for about 5.5 weeks, as a result of the global COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Lucky that the organisation I work for takes it very seriously. I mean, they kinda have to.

We have a lot of news journalists at work who are dedicated to ensuring the Australian public remains well-informed with accurate information. So it’s difficult for the Managing Director to refute the reports in the media!

I want to make a special callout to all of the hard working teams providing medical support to all of the people who have been affected by COVID-19 - the amount of hours, effort and work put in by these people is incredible and they should be recognised like heros of our generation.

I did drop into work once to collect some gear, so that I could be better set up at home. Working on a single laptop screen for such a long period of time is definitely not recommended.

This is now my office:

Monitor, Screen, Furniture, Computer, Computer Keyboard, Table, LCD Screen, PC, Laptop, Desk, Cat

I’m occupying half of our dining table, which is less than ideal but is the best place out of a short list of options.

The cat is massively distracting, but she does do a lot of sleeping. She is a terrorist when she is awake though, so don’t let the cute face fool you.

I figured I would write a bit of a piece about my feelings of so much working from home.

Recently, we were asked to fill in a survey from work. I immediately thought “nah, I’m good, this work from home thing is working well” but the more I thought about it, there are certainly some drawbacks.

Working from home survey

So I landed on a “fair” review. Here’s why.

Equipment

  • The internet has been really stable and fast from home, although not quite as fast as in the office. But I would say it’s good enough
  • Having a decent router/network/ISP setup goes a long way. Many other people experience poor video conferences and I think their home network has a lot to answer for

Video Conferences

  • I have too many throughout the day and it is incredibly tiring. Some days it’s wall-wall meetings from 9 to 5!
  • There are multiple tools to use, which adds to the frustration. Each meeting invite requires looking up what tool, conference ID, etc. The main tools in use seem to be Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack - they all have their ups and downs
  • Avoiding multi-tasking, despite the temptation
  • There is so much screen time everyday
  • Not a lot of variation of activity throughout the day

Ergonomics

  • The dining table and chair isn’t great, but probably OK at a pinch for a few weeks
  • When will this all be over?

Things I miss

  • Social interaction and just seeing people other than those in my household
  • This includes having the regular board games night on Friday, although we’ve tried Zoom and it works well - it just means more screen time after a week’s worth of screen time
  • The local cafe - I visited a few weeks ago and they were pretty depressed, asking when it will all be over. I didn’t have an answer, but I felt sorry and bought a bag of beans. Let’s hope they’re still in business when everyone returns to the office
  • Random walks around the city - or even just walking out to the bus stop and back, which means I’m getting no-where near 10,000 steps a day at the moment
  • Being able to visit people and chat at their desks
  • Just seeing people generally

Things I like

  • Room to put on the occasional load of washing, without having to take up much ‘work’ time
  • The ability to sleep in and roll into the desk, without
  • The sunshine!

Things I didn’t expect

  • Not every day is sunny. Heh.
  • Little time for breaks, despite being at home
  • I’m feverishly hungry all the time and I seem to be emptying the pantry of food continuously
  • I thought I have heaps of time (in the realm of 90 minutes a day) for many activites, like playing the piano, but after pending so much time staring at the screen I don’t feel like reading sheet music!

Things I need to try (or at least try more of)

  • Stop multi-tasking during video conferencing meetings
  • Making time to go for walks/rides after work while there is still light is a huge challenge and end of daylight saving really didn’t help with this.

Wrapping up

It’s not all bad. Australia is doing a decent job at ‘flattening the curve’ and I think that’s quite amazing, considering we’re usually a bunch of misbehaving bogans (convicts only partially to blame).

I just hope we can return to normal again soon. Fingers crossed. Will the world have changed by then? Absolutely.

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