I received the notification last Thursday: I would be the technical liaison to work with our ITS to transition a government office to be fully functional remote workers within days. I won’t lie, the thought of working remotely seemed a dream: I wouldn’t have to shower (keep your thoughts to yourself here), put on make-up, commute, park in a garage, and walk to work in the still Ohio winter. I could simply sit on my couch and work at my own speed without any distractions. I could do document review all day long! Delightful!
It was a fleeting dream. I have been working harder and longer, and well, less comfortably. We are now a fully functioning remote team. Our office was wonderful executing such a remote possibility as a pandemic response. I cannot praise our ITS team enough.
So here we are now, working from home.
I’m on my own very comfortable couch, but I cannot get comfortable. I must fight with my cat because she somehow has the idea that my laptop is hers to bite. The dogs are upset that I am paying them no attention, yet I’m home. They are quite confused. I literally cannot conceive what my colleagues with small children are going through.
Gone are my dual monitors. Gone is my mouse. Gone is my desk!! Now I’m using VPN to reach our systems. That’s one window I have open. Another window open is my document review platform. When I’m looking at a document, I have another window open. I’m writing two Word documents: another two windows open. My email is open. My Lync is open. My time keeping screen is open. The 14-inch screen on my Mac is, frankly, quite frightening to look at.
The work day is no longer structured. I stumble out of bed, drink coffee, and start working. The Mac is a looming presence reminding me that work is always on, invading my once personal space. What happens if I get an email while I am in the kitchen?? Why does this scare me, when it never would have bothered me while I was physically in the office. Do I need to be glued to my Mac since my Mac is now my work? This “dream” is slowly turning into a painful nightmare!
I’m only on day two of remote working, so I am sure that I will adjust, eventually. As I think we all will. Good things will come of this. The once remote idea of a disaster plan is now a reality. If you didn’t think technical competence skills were important, you do now.
And while work is what needs to get done, equally as important is figuring out my work station, my schedule and that of my colleagues, and keeping my mental health safe by learning to set boundaries with the Mac. While we are all cooped up, the last thing we need is turning your safe place into a place where you can’t turn off work. That would certainly be a nightmare.