The idea of working from home is of course not new. Over the last decade there has been a rise of interest in adopting a telecommuting work-style, unfortunately for us this was a rather abrupt change and a necessity rather than an option. Obviously, with any drastic and (arguably) sudden adjustment there will be more noticeable positives and negatives. Both sides of which I have undoubtedly had the pleasure of uncovering over the past month or two.
An immediate positive to being at home was certainly the lack of a commute. Although there is not anything drastic about my journey to work, I will not pretend that it has not granted me a surprisingly decent amount of free time. It means I can have my dinner a little earlier, complete more important chores at home, pursue hobbies, study, and have that little bit longer in bed. I do not have to worry about delays or traffic, and I cannot explain the relief I felt knowing that for those few stormy days I did not have to fight my way home in it. I can see how the increased flexibility and physical comfort lulled me into a false sense of security over the first week.
The first negative reared its ugly head in the form of altering my previous relationship between work and non-work life. I quickly found any previous barriers I had put in place were embarrassingly easy to tear down and I found myself reaching a mental impasse quite quickly; probably within the first fortnight at most. I am lucky enough to only have one other family member working from home but unlucky enough that that has taken me to keep my work setup in my room. With time outside limited and being surrounded only by the same people it became increasingly difficult to not think about work, I was quite literally encircled with where I had chosen to place certain things. From there it took a lot to find the right balance, and I have discovered what works best for me that will not cause a reversion or a swing in the opposite direction.
One thing that has helped is having an incredible team that exercises both patience and effective communication that has made this experience easier, and more enjoyable. Innovations in technology alongside a strong IT support both play a couple of noticeable roles in increasing the abilities of working from home:
- it provides a substitute for the way we communicate when physically in the office and,
- it gives me the ability to access information necessary for me to complete my job despite working remotely.
One worry was not being able to keep up with what was required of me, but I do believe that I have manged to overcome a variety of different tasks and in a timely manner. I do believe that most of the customers I have encountered have left satisfied with the assistance provided, whether that be recovering and redelivering goods to confirming if goods are out for delivery.
As a lot of people are learning right now, working from home is a balancing act. It requires careful setting of boundaries with yourself, your office, and anyone you happen to live with. You must carve out space for yourself to not get interrupted during working hours, and space to relax for non-working hours. Both of which is going to mean different things for different people and come with different types of obstacles. Despite these trials and tribulations, I am glad to have been provided with this opportunity. Not only to keep myself and others safe, but to also be a constant supplier to those that require it.