Sadly, my writing schedule got interrupted by being sick for two weeks (funky COVID-19, although because of the lack of testing on the UK I can’t be 100% certain). I have thought about this topic before, but now is very much on point.
I dislike working from home. A lot. There are several reasons for it:
- First, I still think that face to face communication is superior. Even once you start getting used to remote calls, you still miss body language that is important for communication, especially when you have multiple people on the call.
- Second, I find that I get far more distracted at home that I do in an office, where everything is far more functional. Mind you, not as bad now with the new desktop orientation, which helps a bit avoiding distractions.
- Third, I feed from the energy of other people around me. Is so much easier to work when there are other people around you working
- Fourth, I found that I tend to move more in the office, going to talk with people, than at home, with the corresponding effect on my health. Thanksfully, now I have a desk that can be manually raised, so that should help a bit.
The current situation
The first thing that I want to say on this section is that we are so lucky. As a software developer I can easily work from home. Some people will have lost their job. But I expect that on the majority of the cases you can basically continue working as normal.
Now a few pointers about what I am doing, what I think works best for me on this situation.
- I work my normal hours: I start at 8:30, finish at 17:30. Even if I could start earlier and finish later, I don’t do it.
- Finally raised my desk. This will help compensate the fact that I don’t move as much at home as in the office.
- My lunch time is taken away from my desk. When I go to the office I tend to eat in front of my computer. Not when working at home, I want to make sure that there is a mental break.
- As I work on a consultancy, and currently deployed on a client, I am joining the lunch time hangout of my company. This is to bring different people into my life.
- Try to remote pair as much as possible. Again, this is to make sure that I have constant human contact.
- I indicate in our chat when I start and finish working, when i go to and back from lunch, sometimes when I go to make a hot drink. This is to keep myself within the mind of my co-workers.
- During the mornings I open the windows in my house to make sure that air doesn’t become stale.
- Dress up in the morning the same as if I was going to the office. A bit of respect for you colleagues when doing remote pairing, but also a mental change for you to understand you are going into work.
- During working hours I keep my camera and micrphone connected to is easy to go into calls (I work on a desktop). But as soon as the working day is over, I disconnect them.
As you can see, there are a lot of actions that I take to mentally switch on and off myself. I don’t want my work to spill outside of hours while I am at home. Otherwise lines get blurred and you never switch off.
It is possible that the more time we spend working from home under lockdown, I will change some of my behaviour. For example, if the weather picks up, I will start going out to my garden during my lunch time. But we will see as we go along.