Finding Separation During WFH

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Finding Separation During WFH

  • I work from what used to be my sons bedroom.  I don't go in that room at the weekend.

    The bit I found hardest is when the natural breaks don't occur.  Normally I have to get a scheduled train, I have to have lunch within a tightly defined timeframe etc.  Without those natural breaks I have found it too easy to just work and work and work.

    I have tried to use what would have been my commute time to take a walk before breakfast and to do something at the end of the day.  I'm out in a Cheshire village so social distancing isn't a problem with regard to exercise.  That does help with the stress levels.

    I have taken part in some semi-social Zoom meetings though these are few and far between.  Really look forward to the RedGate FoRG ones.  I am deaf so telephone conversations and dodgy audio on Teams/Zoom/Chime is a problem for me.

    When I'm in an office and I need to speak to someone I normally go to their desk, grab a coffee etc.  Again, it's a natural break but a productive one.  That's gone.

    I've got ideas for articles to support FoRG and one that has been in a half written state since March but after a day on the works laptop I've got nothing left in the tank to do anything mentally challenging.

    I'm betting that anyone who has a pet capable of showing affection are extremely grateful for it.  You can't be hugged over the internet.

  • When my step-sons lived with us, I wouldn't go into their rooms without a full haz-mat suit and checking the Basalisk under the bed had been fed.

    I'm in the strangely fortunate position where many years ago I was off work for an extended period due to stress from overwork and my wife had a much longer period some years later. It gives you some perspective on the position that work should take in your life.

    Currently we both work from home and although we have an office set up, I work in the living room, with a view of our back garden and Lyn work in the kitchen, with a view of the front garden. Frequent breaks are generally suggested by Lyn, because when I'm enjoying my work I can forget to stop. When I'm struggling I seem to be better at remembering to stop.

    Because it looks like I'll be WFH for at least the rest of this year, I will be moving into the office. It's easier to seal off when not in use, instead of packing up the laptop and books every afternoon and unpacking every morning. Also it improves the seperation and as my wife is furloughed right now, she doesn't have to tip-toe around my many Teams and Skype calls.

    I didn't think I'd like WFH every day (it used to be one or two days each week) but I would quite happily WFH all week now.

    I'm well aware that I'm also lucky to live on the edge of a town with a plethora of quiet country lanes and canals to walk along, so I'm getting more exercise instead of driving to and from the office. Having no snack machines at home and Lyn in the kitchen means I've lost 12Kg thus far, as I'm less inclined to graze when I walk away from my desk.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  BrainDonor.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  BrainDonor.
  • I've been WFH since mid-March.  At first I didn't like it, but I've gotten used to it.  We have a spare bedroom set up as an office, so I took over that.  My wife is a music director so she's been out of that; she used to use the office from time to time to arrange music. (Fortunately her church job has continued as she is very involved in recordings for our online worship service.) We moved her things to the basement for the time being, as she only works on music for a few hours a week.

    When I hear what would be required to go back to the office, I'd just as soon stay home.

    This week they sent out an email that most of us won't be returning until at least 2021.  They will be setting up appointments for us to clear our personal stuff from our desks, because they are going to reconfigure the office spaces for social distancing.  I don't know what that means will happen once we go back next year.  Previously they had talked about working part time in the office, part time at home.

  • Good question. For me, it's fairly easy. First is the hours I keep. My employer never wanted its employees to WFH. (It attitude is common among the majority of employers in the state where I live.) So, to that end, when we were forced to WFH, they've done their best to make it exactly as it would be, if we were in the office. e.g.: from day work WFH meant I had to specify exactly what hours I would be WFH. I cannot work outside of those hours, not without serious repercussions. (I'm an hourly employee, as are most employees where I work, including the majority of management.) So, most of the time, when my day is "done", I have to stop, even if that means leaving something unfinished.

    There have been and still are exceptions to the specific hourly rules. I work for my state's health department. Because of that we're in this fight against the Coronavirus. There have been both evenings and weekends where I had to be online, collaborating with other colleagues working to solve a problem. This is justified due to the Coronavirus and paid for by Federal funds. This has been tiring, but I do get paid overtime. (First time in my career I've been paid overtime.)

    The other thing that makes this easy is my work setup at home. As it so happens, I have a work laptop. The first week of WFH was rough, as I tried to figure out where to place it. I have an old military desk I acquired in the past, which had a lot of junk on it. I decided to clean out half of it, so I could put my work laptop there. The laptop has a docking station, to which I've attached a small TV with a HDMI port, that I've got connected to the laptop's docking station. When my work day is done, I log off of the laptop and away from the desk. So, I'm done for the day, unless either my boss or my boss's boss (both have happened) contact me on my phone, to tell me to get on for overtime work.

    Basically, the separation from work is clean. The only time when it isn't is when my management requires my presence.

    Rod

  • <!--more-->I've been WFH for eight years. When this all happened it felt like everything around me was changing but nothing was changing for me. And I was fascinated by all the people talking about how hard it was to be home all the time. It made me realize that what I had always thought of as a perk was something some people would dread. These are some of the things I learned from WFH in those 8 years. Set a schedule and stick with it. Get dressed and feed yourself before starting work. If possible, have an office. Windows are important but if you can't have that, walk around outside or spend breaks looking through a window. Set boundaries with family members. I don't know how many times I've had family members come in and I had to give them the - i'm on a meeting look. I never did zoom though, it was always webex. If you zoom, I would recommend a sign indicating when you're on a call so as not to be disturbed. Take your lunch break. I blocked my calendar for an hour each day at noon. Exercise is so much easier to integrate in now that there are so many classes online. Create a weekly dinner plan. That way you avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store and you can start cooking right after work. Also, you're home (!), pick recipes that you can throw in the oven during the day! Just keep your timer with you!! All those things helped me. I was actually laid off as part of this so now i'm learning to be home and NOT work! 😉

  • David.Poole wrote:

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    I have taken part in some semi-social Zoom meetings though these are few and far between.  Really look forward to the RedGate FoRG ones.  I am deaf so telephone conversations and dodgy audio on Teams/Zoom/Chime is a problem for me.

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    Good reminder. I've enjoyed seeing you on the calls. I sent a note to schedule a few more, so that we can randomly connect with people.

  • BrainDonor wrote:

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    I didn't think I'd like WFH every day (it used to be one or two days each week) but I would quite happily WFH all week now.

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    I hear this a lot from people that don't have younger kids.

  • GaryV wrote:

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    When I hear what would be required to go back to the office, I'd just as soon stay home.

    This week they sent out an email that most of us won't be returning until at least 2021.  They will be setting up appointments for us to clear our personal stuff from our desks, because they are going to reconfigure the office spaces for social distancing.  I don't know what that means will happen once we go back next year.  Previously they had talked about working part time in the office, part time at home.

    I wonder if you'll get options. I'd also be curious what the configuration changes to. If you get the chance, snap some shots when you go in and then in Jan. I'd like to do that if I can get back to the RG offices.

  • Doctor Who 2 wrote:

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    Basically, the separation from work is clean. The only time when it isn't is when my management requires my presence.

     

    Glad you get some separation

  • Sarah wrote:

    I've been WFH for eight years.

    ...

    Quite a routine. You're more disciplined than I am. How long did it take you to build this routine?

    I know it took me 3-4 months to get comfortable and adjust to full time WFH. Even now, I still need to find ways to break up my routine and get a chance of scenery. Lunchtime workout has been a good break for me.

  • Sarah wrote:

    I've been WFH for eight years.

    ...

    Quite a routine. You're more disciplined than I am. How long did it take you to build this routine?

    I know it took me 3-4 months to get comfortable and adjust to full time WFH. Even now, I still need to find ways to break up my routine and get a chance of scenery. Lunchtime workout has been a good break for me.

  • Yeah, it's a good question.  I think these things came slowly at different times over time.  And I guess I like structure and routine which maybe some people don't like, so creating structure and routine helped me.  But I also have kids, so I think if I didn't have that, things would be too chaotic.  I think a good place to start is - what would I do if I were going to the office?  First do that, then "arrive" in your home office ready to go and make that space where you work a "work" space to help delineate between when you're on work time vs. home time.   I realize that can be difficult if you don't easily have a work space.  But perhaps packing up your space and putting it away, keeping it tidy can have the same effect?

  • My home office is a table in the corner of the hobby room, where I sit with my back to the tempting toys. My employer has offices all round the world. The second-biggest advantage of WFH is no commute so, depending on where whoever I'm working with is based, I can vary my hours to either start early/finish early or start late/finish late so as to maximise online time with collaborators. I prefer to keep office hours with an hour for lunch.

    The biggest advantage of WFH is being in my own space, without having to share with noisy colleagues who appear blissfully unaware of how many people they disturb. If Covid puts an end to overcrowded open-plan offices then it will have achieved one good thing.

    Separation is fairly easy; I can walk away from the work table at the end of the day. I admit I have to be very disciplined about not 'just checking Slack' if I'm in the hobby room on my own time (I've deliberately not configured access to work stuff on my personal devices). Anything beyond Slack can only be accessed with MFA, so I tell myself that's just too much trouble on my own time, and mostly it works.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  Ivanova. Reason: typo
  • I don't think many people miss the commute. My car is getting more than a fortnight to the gallon at the moment with all the cost savings that brings. As UK fuel is around 2x the price of US fuel that can be substantial.

    The mayor of Manchester was talking of using the reduced traffic to increase the number of cycle lanes and routes to and across Manchester.  At some point I've cycled to all but my first ever place of work, maybe not regularly but I have done it. I've never cycled to Manchester. It has always struck me as being too damn dangerous.

    When I lived around 10 miles away from my place of work I used to cycle regularly. Arrive at work energised, arrive back from work free of stress. I'd never been so fit and healthy

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