Working from home: a year later

It’s been a hard year for everyone. I thought I would post more on this blog in 2020. This did not happen. What I planned to post was not relevant anymore or I just didn’t have the energy or creativity to create post. March 23 is the one year of working at home. But not for the same employer as last year. I didn’t plan on it, but it ended up being a good thing in the end. I’m very happy in my current job. They are very good at remote working, better than my former employer. I have some lesson from that year of working from home.

1. Get decent equipment

My home computer chair was not the greatest when spending 8 hours a day on it. I decided to get a new one when I realized it wouldn’t be only for 2-3 weeks, I didn’t want to spend money on a chair that’s quite expensive. I ended up bitting the bullet and got a chair. I wanted to save money "in case something happened" but it was worth the $300. My back is thanking me. I already had a good desk, I just had to manage 2 computers on it I know people that were on a kitchen table, not ergonomic at all, got all sorts of back, neck or hand issues. 

2. Sort your space

It’s easy to let it get messy when the personal and work space mixes. I got some storage and organizing bins to helps my spaces coexist. I also ended up putting my huge Mac Pro tower on the floor. It felt a little crammed and I now have more space.

3. Stay connected

At my former job, in the 5 months I worked at home, we had 2 company-wide meeting. Those were not fun, it was statistics and sale numbers. Nothing that made us feel appreciated or connected. I did manage and post in the company Facebook group as part of my job (along with my co-worker) and it was draining to post every day and check for spam. Engagement was very low and it felt useless. The HR woman even set up a recurring "touch base" meeting with me. I never met with the HR people unless there was a problem, this is so refreshing.

4. Small thoughts go a long way

My current job sent us beer and chips and told us to disconnect earlier on a Friday. This was the first of many gifts they sent us. This makes a big difference and made me feel valued.  

5. Get dressed once in a while

Yoga pants, shorts and skirts that shrank in the wash (and would be criminal to wear in public) were my new dress code. Recently, a co-worker suggested, jokingly, that instead of a casual Friday we should do a fancy Friday. I try to do that at least once a week, to dress like I’m going to the office. 

6. Disconnect

That was not an issue for me personally, but I know many people have trouble disconnecting from work. Close the computer or put it to sleep with the notification on mute. It’s easy to forget to take a break, it’s important to take your allowed breaks to refresh your mind. 

7. Get some air everyday

This is one I’m working on still. Even just walking a little outside. I mostly put the garbage and recycling out and get the mail. I need to improve on this. 

8. Don’t be too hard on yourself

This is a traumatic time for everyone, it’s hard to be productive when we are all dealing with anxiety. This one was not super easy on me, I often felt like I was unproductive and I had to tell myself I should be kinder to myself. 

9. Keep a routine

Depending on your job, you might have fixed or more lax work hours. It’s better to keep a morning routine.