In my entire career I’ve never worked from home. So when this pandemic started and I had to make the transition to work-from-home, I knew it would be an adjustment. Would I miss seeing my coworkers every day? Crave a change of scenery? Could I get into a solid routine? How would I handle the extra time each day with no commute? At least that one was a no-brainer … a few extra Zzzzz!
Shopping During a Pandemic
The first task was to gain full remote access to our office server and files. I soon discovered that a PC was the easiest way to go, but there was just one problem … I didn’t own one (loyal Mac users, stand up!). So suddenly I found myself online researching PC laptops while half of America was doing the same thing. After finding several attractive ones that were “out of stock,” I finally ordered one that seemed sufficient and had it shipped directly to the home of our IT guy. He loaded it up and personally dropped it off on my porch, although he declined to step one foot inside my house, for obvious reasons. I hauled it inside and wiped it down thoroughly, killing off any of those little COVID buggers that might be lurking!
Getting Acquainted with My Home Office
I have a very nice home office – the irony is that while I’ve lived in my house for over 4 years, I’d hardly ever spent any time in there. It was a lovely, but lonely, corner room just sitting there, practically begging to be occupied. “Use me, Stephanie, use me! I already have all the tools you need!” (Think the freeway sign in L.A. Story.) And it was right. Desk? Check. Printer? Check. Modem and router for good Wi-Fi connection? Check. Filing cabinet? Check. Several windows with a nice garden view? Check. BTW, does anyone else have a room in their house that talks to them?
Now that it’s been almost 3 months into this new normal, I’ve discovered something … I actually enjoy working from home – and honestly believe that I’m even more efficient from home than when in my Lages office. Here’s a tip to successfully working from home: it’s important to designate a set work area and treat it no differently than stepping into an office building. For me, that’s my home office. Each morning when I come downstairs and open my large, white paneled barn door and step into that space, I am ready to get to work. And when I exit each evening and close the barn door, I’m home again. Establishing that distinction has really helped. Sure there are still occasional distractions – the phone rings while I’m on a video call, the gardeners using their power tools right out my window, the garbage truck goes by, etc. – but for the most part it’s been a pretty seamless transition.
When on Zoom video calls, I’ve found it very interesting to peer into the homes of my coworkers, clients and even media and industry analysts. It can make for some intriguing small talk. “I didn’t know you had XYZ taste in décor or XYZ number of pets” or “What is that ugly thing hanging behind you?” (Just kidding on that one.) Maybe it’s my psych degree or because I’ve always been an “observer,” or just the fact that it’s natural to crave interaction with fellow humans during a time of isolation… whatever the reason, it’s been an unexpected treat to get to know the people I interact with on a more personal level. Somehow it helps to humanize this entire ordeal.
As we get further into 2020 and these unprecedented times, there’s one overriding question for me … are we or are we not going to have college football this fall??? Only time will tell. Go Big Red!