The One at Home

We’ve been working from home for three weeks now. On Thursday, March 12th, our team decided we would stay home for at least the next two weeks and on March 13th Studitemps decided to send us all to work from home until further notice. I had a mild panick attack after our team decision. I had drawn so much energy in the past weeks from being around people I like and from being able to talk to someone in our tea kitchen when I felt irritated. I was incredibly afraid I’d lose all my progress of the past months and just get back into a depression. I spent the last Friday (where usually most people work from home anyways) glued to my favourite coworker. I might have invaded his personal space a few times because I was desperate to make this last day count.

And now it’s three weeks and I’m happy to report that I’m fine. I’m actually feeling quite good right now. Luckily, one of my team mates has already spent the majority of time working from home for a while now and I’m quite used to calling him when I’m stuck or when I think I need some more input to get a good learning experience out of something. We had also done some remote Retros/Plannings before so the change for our team wasn’t as huge as for others.

As for me, I usually hate working from home. I feel out of the loop (which is mostly in my head, I know), I find it much easier talking to someone who is sitting next to me, I crave personal contact and I love going for a lunch walk. And I feel lonely. I know that I’m fortunate in that I’m not completely on my own in comparison to single people without kids, but still. It’s not the same as having another adult person around.

But I made it work. I chatted a lot with my favourite people on the first day and I called some on the second day. On Wednesday I created a new Slack channel for coffee talk. A place where people can start video calls at random times throughout the day to substitute going to the kitchen together. We had some after-hour calls as well, some with and some without alcohol.

And I’ve found some kind of routine, that I’m loosely sticking to. I get up around 6, as I usually do. I then go for a walk or run outside or do an early online fitness class. I start working between 8 and 9, I close my laptop and set my Slack status to lunch break for at least an hour between 12 and 2 (going outside if I didn’t do so in the morning). And I try to finish working at around 5. I then do a fitness class or call someone for a nice chat. In the evenings, I’m trying to learn guitar and read before going to bed. Stopping work in the evening is the hardest so far because I want to finish stuff I started. Or I’m waiting for someone else to finish working so we can have a call. But that’s actually not that much different from working in the office.

I think I can make this work for a while. Weekends are tough because I had just started doing lots of things (away from home, with people) before the world went crazy. But this weekend has been better than the last one, so I guess that’s also something to just be chill about and learn some more each week? I have to stop myself from thinking too much about how long this will go on for and how bad it will get, but I guess that’s normal, too. And I know that I’m incredibly fortunate in my position right now.

I have tons of meetings during the next 2 days. One of which is our Monthly Sprint Show for the whole department, organised by me, fully remote for the first time. Eek. Let’s see how this goes. I hope y’all are staying healthy and at home.

PS: If you hadn’t already noticed, my blog titles follow the naming conventions of Friends episodes. It’s always “The One With/Where”, there are just a few exceptions: The pilot and finale episode, a few that are “The One after” and a few where they travel to a nice place. I’m deviating here, too. Just with the opposite of going to a nice place.

PPS: While Friends is still gone from German Netflix, Community is back! Go watch it!