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Author Topic: Working From Home  (Read 3063 times)

Barrington Boots

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Working From Home
« on: 25 September, 2020, 10:54:06 AM »
Anyone else doing a lot more of this? How are you finding it?

I did it for almost 8 years in my job prior to the current one and I've got the mindset already, so it's been an easy transition for me: I'm not missing my commute and I can wear my own clothes, listen to my own music and I've grown my beard out like a wizard. A lot of my colleagues are struggling though, especially those with less home space and / or children, which has made me rethink if it's the holy grail of working practice that I thought it was for everyone...
You're a dark horse, Boots.

Rately

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #1 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:05:03 AM »
I was off for months because we don't have the ability to work from Home, security and privacy of customer issues, but they've ordered us all laptops, so i'm assuming they are getting themselves ready for another full lock-down.

My Wife has been working from Home since the start of the lock-down, and seems to struggle with it, and i'm sure my presence at home wouldn't be helpful, so i'll probably be banished to the loft when, and if, we are sent to work from home.

Strangely, i think i'd be a lot more productive, as i'm kind of burned out working with people, especially people I've a hard time connecting with. Have worked in an Office setting for 22 years, and literally fed up with the same backbiting, internal squabbles over nothing very much.

Would quite happily lock myself in the loft, with my music, my own laptop and my work.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #2 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:16:24 AM »
WFH since 2002, bar the odd bit of consultancy work. It’s great. But I’m also privileged in having the room to work. For those who don’t, I imagine it can be really tricky. And companies need to do better at providing workspaces for employees, not just giving them a laptop and telling them to fuck off.

My take is we would be good to learn lessons from this, though, and recognise the hideous and pointless nature of the long and enforced commute. One person I work with used to spend anything up 90 minutes in the car on a round-trip of ten miles. That’s insane. Then I thought: I used to do the same. (No public transport; no remotely safe cycling route. Car or nothing.) She actually liked it—it was her “me time” away from the demands of kids, etc. So she started running, and now does three hour-long runs a week where she has that time, listens to her music and podcasts, and is feeling a lot happier about that than sitting in traffic.

What’s also interesting is those I work with who are now 100% WFH mostly don’t want to revert to the status quo. They don’t want permanent 100% WFH either, but talk about perhaps going in two or three days per week, on a teams basis. There’s an opportunity here, but it will only turn out well if idiot middle managers who value presenteeism over results are silenced and people who want to WFH are better supported.

Also, a PSA: if you are working from home, get yourself a good chair. Do not spend months at the dining table, unless you later want to spend months having the NHS attempt to repair your totally fucked back.

Bolt-01

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #3 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:42:19 AM »
Hello, my name is Dave and I've been working from home since March. I'm an NHS data analyst (which right now means I spend almost half my time sorting various returns about COVID) and part of a team of around 15.

I was lucky enough to already have an older office chair at home for the massive amount of time I spend making comics, but the mental mind shift of sitting all day that table doing data for the man, then switching to my comics laptop to make comics for myself -- I found (and still do if I'm being honest) that hard.

My office commute was less than a half hour (and having a wife who is a nurse and does not drive it still is) but I did value that as a way of transitioning from work to home mentally.

It does look like WFH is here to stay for at least the near future, and I guess that if it carries on for long enough then it will feel odd to be back in the office.

Rately

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #4 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:42:53 AM »


Also, a PSA: if you are working from home, get yourself a good chair. Do not spend months at the dining table, unless you later want to spend months having the NHS attempt to repair your totally fucked back.

So important.

Wife found this to her cost. Luckily a very considerate person she worked with rescued a "proper" chair, that was consigned to the scrapheap for no reason other than gossying up their Offices, for her and delivered it!

Barrington Boots

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #5 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:49:04 AM »
So, so true about having a good chair. I started off at the kitchen table in March but transitioned to the spare room and bought a proper office chair to it and my back is so much better off for it. It's also helpful to work in a room that isn't one you live in much, so you can really shut yourself off from work and walk away from it at the end of your shift.

I get the point about 'me-time' on the commute too - I used to read unchallenging paperbacks on the train and it gave me the chance to dissasociate my working day from being at home, whereas now I can sometimes come off work straight into the house in a stinking mood after a day of frustration. I'd still rather not have the commute though.
The one downside I've had is that I've put on a decent amount of weight, as I used to walk a fair bit to an from the office & station.
You're a dark horse, Boots.

Rately

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #6 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:52:29 AM »
My years of commuting were hellish. Stuck in a car for 3-4 hours of the day, in the days before we had all our digital media on phones / tablets.

I remember once an horrific car accident at the exit point left me stranded in a car for the better part of ten hours.

We could nearly all work from home, and i hope, in light of this pandemic, that more employers are willing to switch to this model. I'm all for spending time in the Office, but i could easily do my work from Home with proper investment from my employer.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #7 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:58:32 AM »
If people are finding concentration an issue, I recommend Bear Focus Timer: https://www.bearfocustimer.com

It works on the principle of work/break sprints (like a stripped-down Pomodoro) but cunningly only works when your phone’s face-down (a neat psychological idea to put it ‘out of reach’). It’s also useful to remind you to take regular breaks rather than just blaze through for hours. (By default, every 25 mins you get five, and after four cycles you get a longer break; but all of that can be defined.)

I also wrote this back at the start of lockdown (although it was only published much later, for some reason), and it might prove handy to WFH newcomers: https://www.stuff.tv/features/stuff-guide-working-home

wedgeski

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #8 on: 25 September, 2020, 11:58:55 AM »
I've been default-working-from-home since April, with occasional visits to the office for work that simply can't be done outside.

I'll be honest, I love it. But as others have said, I'm in a privileged position. Both my wife and I already have dedicated personal rooms in the house so it was easy to re-purpose those into mixed office spaces. Both of us working from home means we get to see each-other for lunch, and the lack of a commute (albeit only 20 mins each way) means that personal time is maximised in a way it never has been.

I'd be quite happy to never again see the inside of an office. I'm confident that whatever I lose in productivity by being in such a comfortable space (which I think is a thing), I gain by not being constantly exposed to distracting chatter, movement, and spur-of-the-moment interruptions and interactions.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #9 on: 25 September, 2020, 12:30:42 PM »
Working from home since March and its a mixed bag for me.

I'm saving money which is nice. Don't have the trips to and from work which is cool, though its a easy commute. Don't have to worry about whose covering collecting the kids, how we'll staff school holidays etc so lots of positives.

I've been set up well from work, had a laptop already and given the nature of the work I do (work with Systems Config for a University) we've had monitors and any other kit we need bought for us. Still working on an adapted camping table in the bedroom which isn't great, but work will buy a desk when I get around to sort out where I will put it!

I just really miss chatting to folks in the office (take it out on you folks). We have informal chats via Zoom and I e-mail exchange colleagues not in my team who I used to see a lot of, but its not the same. Team collabration is harder as well. We continue to work on it, using this platform and that but its not the same.

The other problem is while I'm more productive in the day (he says wasting work time typing this) a  LOT more productive, I do find its a bit invasive. We're very busy at the moment and its too easy to drift into work mode, check the laptop etc when I've signed off. I used to be pretty good at working hard when in work but then letting go when I was home so I could focus on other things. Less so now. I do wonder if that's a factor of how busy the team is overall, or home working, most likely a combination of both.

The thing that worries me most about that is as a manager, I lead a team and if I'm working late into an evening, or more likely early or at weekends and days off and forget to set e-mails to send during core hours it can create pressure on members of the team to do likewise and I actively tell them not to. I encourage (or try to) to work on building a good balance and 'barriers' between work time and home time. So I need to get better at that for sure.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #10 on: 25 September, 2020, 12:46:17 PM »
I do find its a bit invasive
That’s a discipline and mentality thing — and something LOTS of WFH people find hard to deal with. One corporate I work with found lots of stuff simply bundled their commute times into work — and were told not to. That’s _their_ time. If they used to set off at 7am to be in the office at 8, they should start at 8, not 7. Or: just start whenever is necessary to do what’s needed.

You need to create those boundaries you recommend for your team. Leave work, even if that literally means walking out of your office/away from your workspace, and then just leave it. Imagine walking away. Don’t be tempted to head back, or utilise VIP settings in email so you’ll get alerted by vitally important stuff but not anything that can wait.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #11 on: 25 September, 2020, 01:03:00 PM »
You need to create those boundaries you recommend for your team. Leave work, even if that literally means walking out of your office/away from your workspace, and then just leave it. Imagine walking away. Don’t be tempted to head back, or utilise VIP settings in email so you’ll get alerted by vitally important stuff but not anything that can wait.

I have started to wear work shirts on work days now and started to 'get changed when I'm home' in an attempt to create little markers to switch off. Its a small step but things like that have got to help I reckon. As you say its a discipline and with work being what it is now one that's hard to get into. Though I continue to make myself have an hour for lunch (which I didn't do in the office at all!) as its made my afternoons a lot more effective as I'm less knackered.

JamesC

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #12 on: 25 September, 2020, 01:07:29 PM »
I've been working from home on and off and I love it.
I love being at home and having the freedom to work as the load demands. If it's a quiet afternoon I don't feel at all guilty about putting a film on. I'll probably stop it halfway through to make a cuppa and check on the work laptop as the kettle boils. Obviously, if there's something that needs doing straight away I'll get on it. Otherwise I'll come back to it later.
I have occasionally worked into the evening or later than I usually would. I don't mind that though. I'm already at home, so working at 1930 doesn't seem so bad when I could have been working in the office until 1800 and not been home until 1930 anyway.
I'd love this work style to continue but, as I work in the events industry, it's unlikely. At the moment it's a rolling wave of cancellations and rebooking at a later date. Or sorting out safe working practices for social distancing. When the events actually start happening with any regularity my home working will decrease accordingly.
It's convinced me that it can work though - and even in a normal month I'll have days which are predominantly spent on emailing and admin, which I'll probably still do from home.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #13 on: 25 September, 2020, 01:10:54 PM »
The recommendation I would make about home working is that presenteeism is largely eradicated. It’s about results and performance. So you can manage your own time to get done what you need to. If you spend 20 minutes pissing around on this forum, so be it. If it’s a nice day out (erm, not today) and you fancy a bit of a stroll, do it. You don’t have to think “well, it’s not my lunch hour” before working right through your bloody lunch hour anyway.

Quote
even in a normal month I'll have days which are predominantly spent on emailing and admin, which I'll probably still do from home.
And that’s really important. The future should be about reframing work about what’s best for people, and not what gives shitty middle managers a massive ego from seeing ’their’ people all knuckling under from nine to five. For some, that will still mean a lot of on-site and office work. For others, it won’t. But we need to rethink the defaults.

judgeurko

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Re: Working From Home
« Reply #14 on: 25 September, 2020, 01:20:24 PM »
Like a lot of people I have been working from home for the past few months. I normally work from home about 50% of the time & know that I am fortunate to be in a job that allows me to work from home. Many in other areas of employment are not so lucky. A decent chair is really important & if possible a monitor. I do hope that once things get back to normal flexible working becomes the norm, with staff being given the option to work from home or in the office. Even though working from home is not new to me I do think the fact that it is imposed on me & I cannot work from an office does have a negative impact on my wellbeing. As others in my household are now working from home also I am using my bedroom as an office whereas before I was using the main living space. I try to make sure when I finish my work laptop & phone are tucked away out of sight.

I know someone earlier mentioned sending emails out of office hours, which I do on occasion, & how that may impact on your team thinking that they have to do the same. I have added some text to my work sig -
Please note - I may send emails out of office hours/at weekends. This is my own working preference and I do not expect a reply at those times.

I have also started a mini-commute every day, in the morning I take a quick walk around the block & do likewise at the end of the day. I think this is very important, especially at the end of the day if your workspace & living space are the same. It gives you that time to get out of work mode.

I also use the 'chunking' method in my electronic work calendar. Which basically means assigning time to all your work tasks & sticking to that. The opposite of multi-tasking. This way I am not distracted by emails coming in or phonecalls etc. I have time set aside in my calendar to check emails & also importantly for breaks during the day. I think working from home makes a lot of us forget to take breaks or feel guilty at taking breaks if we are not used to working away from an office. I also make use of my out of office to generate automatic replies to emails when I am working on a project or in a meeting, I know this sounds obvious but if you always respond immediately to emails it creates that working culture & people expect you to reply straight away. If you have the replies set up it can take the pressure off you when you get emails & the sender may actually be able to get a response from someone else.

Staying in touch with colleagues is also important, I have created informal zoom coffee breaks once a week where people can join if they want to chat about things. this is more a social thing rather than for serious work project discussion etc. & it is not mandatory but if I notice some of my team are regularly not attending I try to touch base with them.