I’ve been working 100% remotely for almost six years with people in various time zones. But for a good part of that time, I wasn’t “WFH” (working from home.)
I rented space in a large open co-working facility similar to WeWork.
It had its ups and downs.
I was reading through some of the anecdotes I wrote down during my time working there.
There was the time when this one guy had to loudly retell the same joke to every single person in the room even though we all heard him the first time.
The time I walked in and the military was using our space. Instead of being greeted by the usual early morning rush to the coffee machine, I did a double-take and felt like I should salute to the 30+ men in uniform.
That day when the private room guy in the back of where I sat — pretty sure he was a stock market trader- was cackling like a villain in a cartoon show every few minutes.
Human interaction. Real-life is so much more entertaining than the movies.
Then a CrossFit gym opened right across the street, and I was psyched!! I had my whole workday planned, starting with exercise I loved, and a full-time contract I was super excited about to be signed. Things were looking up! Finally, a schedule was forming.
That’s precisely when the Coronavirus hit, and everything collapsed. The new gym had to close after only one week of being open. Co-working cut their space to 1/3 of what it was. My dream contract fell through because of the virus. The kids couldn’t go to school anymore.
When I started working from home, things were VERY hard. The organizational difficulties were gruesome, with everyone’s different schedules and the split focus between housework, family, and work.
But as soon as I realized that this might be a constant reality, I was able to learn, adapt, and become more mindful of my time.
I set up a workspace. Fixed the calendar. And things started to get a little better. (I won’t say for a second that I don’t still struggle with this. But I needed to understand that this was not a short-term problem to integrate into a new situation.)
WFH is a struggle when it’s unplanned.
Which is why it’ll never work as a “temporary solution until we can get back to the office.”
People feel harried, unsure, unable to plan, and upset about not knowing what the future holds. This might have worked as a “Heuristic solution” when we didn’t know what the future would hold, but more than six months later, we should have more than enough employee stories and other data to build a better and longer-term solution. (And we should be thinking of the next Global Catastrophe we can still reverse — Global Warming.)
So when I say kudos to big companies like Microsoft and Twitter that are announcing a permanent #wfh policy, I appreciate and applaud them.
Microsoft makes remote work option permanent
Microsoft has told staff that they will have the option of working from home permanently with manager approval. The…
That said, I also understand why it’s the right business decision for them.
Employees need closure in order to be able to plan, regain their productivity and emotional wellbeing. I don’t doubt that companies have been recognizing this over the last few months. And a few months in tech time are like light-years anywhere else.
I truly want to thank every company that gives its employees that level of transparency and control in their schedule while our governments fail to do so.
*There are good reasons more and more large organizations are announcing permanent remote work for employees. Pay attention. It’s a mutually-beneficial arrangement.
Thanks for reading, and signing off for now,