The benefits of technology during Coronavirus isolation

Working from home

I work just over half my time from home, as the norm. I love it! As an introvert, I find it very helpful to have time working alone, to work without my energy being sapped. It's not that I don't like people... I just get my energy from time alone, whereas extroverts get their energy from others.

The team I work with are amazing! They really are! We are the most diverse bunch of people, spread out across the country and we all have different skills and personalities. Even before this virus appeared, we made every effort to stay in touch and make sure the remote workers were included. What we didn't need to do, is pay attention to those who, because of location and/or preference, work in the main office. 

Collaboration

It has never been easier to stay in touch, even when isolating. Most of us have some form of social media, a smart phone, messaging and video tools. From a work perspective, if you haven't used these tools before, I would recommend trying out:
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Slack
  • Trello.
My line manager set up a general hangout room today, on Teams, that any of us could drop in and out of throughout the day. This was very informal but was really good for just maintaining some sense of office chit chat. It was kind of nice to see the rest of the team in their natural habitat. It was really nice to see people interacting with their partners, children, pets, etc. I feel like I've got to know my colleagues a little bit better today. 

Time keeping

Two problems face us when working from home:
  1. Not doing enough work
  2. Working too hard.
I'm not commuting at the moment, at all. This gives me two extra hours in my day. It's tempting to work an extra four hours (I only commute two days a week), and if I'm happy, that's fine. What I do have to do, is stay healthy and maintain work-life balance. 

If, like me, you are tempted to start work at 6 am and keep going until 5ish, I have some advice.

  1. Set an alarm to go off every hour. Get up, change position, make a drink, walk around the garden. It will help you to avoid back ache but will also refresh you and make you more effective.
  2. Take one long break and one short break during the day and either go outside and do some gardening or go for a walk, walk the dog, or jog... just get fresh air and exercise.
  3. Use an app like Clockify to keep track of your actual work. Track what tasks you are doing and for how long. At the end of each day, check how you got on. You might be really pleased and then you won't feel guilty about shutting down and stopping for the day. If you are given to procrastination, it might help keep you on track.

Opportunity

If, like me, you would prefer to work from home most of the time, this is a valuable opportunity! If we can show that this works... that it has no negative impact on productivity, mental health, social contact, etc... well, we might just be able to make a case for continuing... if we want to.

For those that would prefer to be in the office, bear with this for a while. Well, you're going to have to! But try to see some positives in it and see if there are aspects of it that you could bring back into the workplace when this is all over.

Comments

  1. A very interesting piece Nicki. I too love working at home. As I’m retired and have now got three hobbies two of which I have neglected due to the obsession of one your reminder of taking breaks suggests to me that I could use those breaks to slip in the two neglected hobbies. Thank you.

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