The new normal that is working from home definitely has its perks, it affords you flexibility – you can wear whatever you want and work from literally anywhere in the house; saves you lots of time as you don’t have worry about the long commute in to the office. The list of the positive things we’ve discovered since the lockdown started is endless.
However, while working from home can seem like a dream, it definitely has its challenges. With this in mind we decided to put together a list of the aspect of our jobs that were actually easier to do while working from home and those things that have been quite hard to do while working away from the office.
Rhia: For me, it’s taking calls. Thanks to the Vonage app, we are able to pick up any incoming calls that we get even when we aren’t in the office! The sound quality is good as well, and apparently it doesn’t sound like I’m at home to anyone on the other end. It’s good to know that we have such a helpful tool in these times, so that we can still respond to any incoming enquiries just as we would if we were in the office.
N: When the lockdown was announced, I was actually worried that I’d struggle to juggle home schooling two primary school aged kids and getting some actual work done during business hours. Fortunately, because the school work has been set and assigned by the class teachers using Google Classroom and Joe Wicks has become the nation’s P.E teacher, all I have to do is supervise, monitor and check their work. I've been able to easily juggle being the Head Teacher, class teacher, cook, diner lady, janitor, maintenance man, parent, IT support and my day job. The biggest challenge is helping with their various science experiments and having to scan and send any offline work.
Dee: For me it’s the ability to work from home and not be too distracted with so much going around the house. I had always struggled working from home because of all the temptations around: TV, noise, wifey, kids etc. I have just found that I could lock myself away and just get on with it and not be disturbed.
Kat: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and not overworking myself has actually been much easier than I thought. In the past, I used to struggle to know when to stop working for the day. Working from home used to feel like I never leave work causing me to end up being quite exhausted at the end of the day. Now because I have the kids at home, there’s always that subtle reminder to take a break, to ignore the urge to check that new email or continue work on that “urgent” assignment.
Rhia: It’s very easy to get distracted. And I don’t mean that I want to start messaging my friends on my phone or play on my Nintendo Switch, but my partner is also working from home, and when we are both in meetings, or taking calls at the same time, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand. As our flat is rather small, we have to share a workspace at home as there is only one area of the flat that we can work comfortably from so we have no choice to be in the same space. It’s great spending all of this extra time together but I can’t wait until I can go back to the office and not have to hear about every single little thing he is doing at work all day!
N: Prior to the lockdown, most health blogs extolled the benefits of eating home cooked meals -the general thrust of the messages was that home cooked meals are nutritious, healthy, promote weight loss and great for mental well-being. While all of this is true, it seems no one thought about what happens when you’re stuck indoors for weeks and have access to lots of snacks. That’s what’s so difficult – eating healthy and controlling the urge to snack. Every time I go into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, there’s always a tempting looking croissant or a yummy slice of chocolate cake or some chocolate brownies that’s begging to be eaten. Yes, they are home cooked too!!
Dee: It’s being able to exercise as much as I wanted to. In the past I have always gone out every day to exercise but I just didn’t’ want to go out as much anymore. I had a treadmill that I used but that was a struggle being motivated to get on it every day and have now put on a few pounds. Now that the lockdown has been a bit more relaxed I would start going out for longer walks and runs and exercise outside a lot more.
Kat: Being able to socialise with colleagues has been quite a challenge. While we’ve been able to catch up regularly and even share drinks using Teams, the isolation of being away from the office and not having that professional interaction is the hard part. Even though colleagues are just a phone call away and the use of our collaborative tools makes it easier to get things done, nothing beats having face-to-face interactions and being able bounce ideas off co-workers over a cup of coffee.
So that's our list, everyone of us is experiencing some sort of difficulty during this period - especially with regards to being able to do our jobs - but on the flip side there are some things we found are easier to actually do. As always, stay safe, stay at home maintain social distancing and remember to support our NHS.