I’ve been forced to work from home now for 5 months, at time of writing, because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. I’m not going to go into detail what I think about the pandemic, expected for that it is very real and anyone who doesn’t think so is a moron.
In February, I was on the company ski trip and got a slack message from my manager on a Saturday, saying if I didn’t see the email from corporate security, that I need to cancel my upcoming work trip that was suppose to start on Monday. That when I stopped and read the email about all nonessential business travel is cancelled for the foreseeable future. That was unfortunate for me because I was scheduled to talk at a conference in September in Wales.
A few weeks later, when the mandate to work from home came out, on a Thursday, the offices closed well before the stay at home order in Colorado. I was mildly disappointed because that would mean no more free breakfast and lunch, but the precautions were completely appropriate. I figured it will be only for a few weeks to a month, 5 months later they are saying the offices will not be open until for awhile longer.
Since then I have been trying to adjust to the new life of working from my 400 sq ft apartment. At first it was a struggle, finding the best way to work. First I tried sitting in my Ikea POÄNG chair. Which let me tell you, it is uncomfortable after about 20 minutes. I was not using my desk in an attempt to separate my work from my personal life.
That became suboptimal after about a week so I switched to plug my work laptop into my ultra-wide monitor. I’ve been using that ever since. This was hard at first because I associated that setup with gaming on my gaming computer. To help dissociate that I used a different mouse and keyboard, as well as only gaming on the weekend. The next biggest thing was separating work and personal lives. I would sometimes work until 7 or 8 at night.
If your work-life balance tips to far in one direction. You have to ask yourself two questions, first are both things equally important to you and second how far are you willing to go to balance them out again?
First, I believe they are both equally important, having rest from work is very important.
Second, I have very specific cut offs that I try to conform to such as starting work at 9 than working until 5. Then not answering slack or emails outside these hours. Unfortunately programming is never has that clean of cutoffs, so I try to wrap things up around 5.
These are very first world problems, I am lucky that I work for a company that doesn’t make people go into an office where the employees might get sick. The essential workers are the real heroes, by reporting to work even though they might get sick.