Friday April 3rd marked the end of my third week as a remote worker, and my first week of 100% remote, as I’d gone into the office during the day that we were locked down.
It’s Starting to Feel Normal
As I mentioned in my first post on this topic:
A Fortnight Remote (And Counting)
Friday 27th March 2020 marked the end of my second week as a remote worker, and the end of the UK’s first four days in…
routines are extremely important. My working day consists of getting up, walking the dogs, and then spending the day alternating between my laptop for hands on work and my desktop for video calls. Nothing seems particularly weird about it now. Seeing people in two dimensions and either sitting in silence or talking over each other is normal. Driving to the office (or the station, if I’m working out of our London office) is no longer part of the my day, and it’s none the worse for that.
I’m still organising and attending more meetings than I used to when I was able to interact with real humans. Just because I seem to have adjusted to the new way of things doesn’t mean everyone has, so I’m keen to make myself available.
We’re also finding other ways of communicating with our neighbours — I saw this one on my early walk a few days ago.
Nice Weather Helps (Or Does It?)
I’m writing this late on Sunday afternoon, and the weather has been very good this weekend, which means plenty of time in the garden and in the sunshine the hours speed past. Not everyone has a garden though, and in places like London the parks have seen quite a few people, especially on Saturday. I’m sure the vast majority just wanted to get out of the house for their daily exercise, and many won’t have the luxury of a garden that the rest of us take for granted, but when enough of them do it at the same time it causes a social distancing problem. It seemed like things improved in this area on Sunday — maybe everyone staggered themselves a little more rather than all heading out first thing.
Where is all the Free Time?
I’ve read plenty of articles online that tell me I’ll have loads of free time now that I’m a remote worker. I can learn to play a musical instrument or to speak a new language. The options are only limited by my imagination.
Except they aren’t, as I start work as soon as I’ve walked the dogs, and finish in time for dinner. When you are in a senior position there is always more work than there are hours in the day, so all that’s happened is I’ve got a couple more hours a day to try to get it all done. The time that I used to spend commuting or running errands just goes into the pot and means that I can pick up a couple more tasks each day. I don’t have kids, so I’d imagine those that do and have been trying to homeschool them on top of everything else feel like they are on an 80 hour a week death march. The Easter Holidays start on Monday, which will make things simultaneously better (as the schooling will be finished for a while) and far, far worse (as the kids will be stuck at home and bored).
Keep up the Virtual Contact
While it’s tempting to start skipping the virtual socials, now is the time to double down on them. Just because I’m not struggling doesn’t mean everybody else is fine, and it’s not that much time out of the day. If you are in a leadership position, you need to make sure you are as available as you can possibly be. I start and finish a lot of my meetings now by asking people if they are okay and if they have any questions or concerns about the current situation, and telling everyone they should feel free to contact me any time during the day. I can’t always answer the questions or help with the concerns, but a lot of the time just talking about a situation can be a big help for those going through it.
The End is in Sight?
While the lockdown is often referred to as a 21 day thing, all the government has said is they would look again in 21 days, not open everything up immediately on that day. My take is, assuming lockdown is having an impact, they will extend it by a couple of weeks, maybe in two steps of a week at a time. Once it feels like we can’t take any more, they will then look to slacken the rules a little while keeping most of us out of circulation. If lockdown isn’t having an effect, things could get draconian and we might be looking back fondly on the days when we could go out without a permit. Here’s hoping it won’t come to that.
I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, multi-time MVP, and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom. You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog