For the past three weeks and for the indefinite future, my entire company has been working from home. On the surface, this may seem like a great change, but in reality, there are some notable tradeoffs. For today’s prompt, “How are you working from home?”, I think it’ll be good to share my home arrangement as well as cover some of the pros and cons I’ve noticed with this new lifestyle.
Every week day, I wake up anywhere between 8:30-10am, scroll through slack notifications while laying under my moderately soft blanket, and eventually roll out of the bed and into the bathroom where pea size dollop of Colgate shocks me awake. And just like that, I’m right back on the grind.
For the next handful of hours, I simply sit at my childhood workstation (small-ish desk and medium sized monitor), pop in and out of too many Zoom meetings, and flutter my fingers over my Coolermaster mechanical keyboard. Sometimes I get out of my chair to satisfy my basic human requirements, but since work has been strangely demanding, I do so sparingly. Reflecting on the last couple days, I should probably step away from my keyboard more, but finding the right balance being available online, writing code, and taking sufficient breaks is not that easy.
WFH and the CA mandated “shelter in place” has undeniably taken a toll on me and my friends. To combat this cabin fever and lack of social interaction, here are a few things I have been trying do:
Nothing is more refreshing than taking in some fresh air. I feel so cooped up and restrained after sitting in my room for hours, so I try to go outside for some form of exercise. A walk, a run, a sprint, a hike, a shoot-around at a nearby basketball court, a rigorous workout after hopping the fence of a local country club, or anything else that gets the heart-rate up.
Nowadays, almost every basic, in-person interaction has a virtual counterpart. The gift of modern technology has blessed us with tools like Zoom, FaceTime, and every other video chatting tool available. Each piece of software along with a sprinkle of creativity can go a long way. Recently, I’ve participated in a virtual birthday celebration, a virtual abs workout, and a handful of virtual team happy hours!
Try something new
I would say that now is a fantastic time to try something new, whether that be learning a new skill, trying a random creative activity, or cooking some new dishes. I picked up a couple of new books, started writing a lot more, and modified my workouts to be home friendly. Without the usual social distractions, people can capitalize more on the isolation and excess time and start exploring more of what the world has to offer!
The office ain’t too bad
I used to think that I would thrive more in a fully remote position, but after living this lifestyle, I have learned that it’s not as glorious as it may sound. I somehow work a lot more, exercise noticeably less, and talk to fewer of my friends throughout the week. When I’m at home and thinking about nothing other than work, it’s too easy to get caught up in a task or discussion and not notice how fast time flies by. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to underutilize the time. Without teammates physically nearby, there is noticeably less pressure to produce output. If I were still in the office, I would be able to interface with my teammates and hangout on the penthouse with coworkers. I would also be able to enjoy our office perks, lunches, snacks, drinks, and extraneous supplies.
The quarantine also is not helping the cause and is probably a bigger problem than working from home indefinitely. Maybe if I were still able to grab a beer with my friends at the bar after work, I would enjoy this lifestyle a lot more.
A famous quote:
“There is no color” - emily
Cover photo: A shot of the office rooftop.